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The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

eSPORTS PREVIEW: League of Legends team aims to stay at top of its game, repeat as CIF champs

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Asaph Li
Seniors Dakota Ouzts (left) and Michael Marquez react as they battle against each other in a game of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate during an open tournament on Friday, Sept. 8, after school in Room 111. Marquez won 2-0, proceeding to the winner’s bracket.

Advisers: Sonya Joyce, Myra Deister

Top Returning Players: Garv Jain (12), Peter Jung (11), David Kim (11), Tim Lee (11)

Top Newcomers: Brian Carlson (12), Alexander Dang (9), Andrew Jang (11), Noah Jung (9), Eugene Kwon (11)

Last Season: The eSports team was the CIF League of Legends champion, defeating La Quinta High School of Westminster in the title game, 2-0. The Lancers also won the Network of Academic and Scholastic Esports Federations [NASEF] Fall Open, which gives the team recognition before CIF, against Arcadia High School with a score of 2-0 last year. 

Outlook: The team stays optimistic and feels confident about winning its second consecutive CIF championship.

“We hope to keep our reputation as a top League of Legends team in the country and a top eSports program in the nation,” said Jain, eSports club president and Top Laner — a player who fights alone against the corresponding enemy player in the upper region of the game’s map. “Our goal is to win CIF and state tournaments this year across all games.”

Jain said he is hoping for success this season since this year’s team is composed of multiple experienced players.

“We’re going to play and work hard consistently for this win,” he said. “I really want to win CIF again in my senior year and end with a bang, keeping the CIF champion title.”

Joyce agrees that this year’s squad has the potential to maintain the school’s dominance in League of Legends competition.

“We are optimistic that we have put together some strong players into teams that will be able to win some championships for Sunny Hills,” said Joyce, who is in her second year guiding the League of Legends squad after being gone for two years in pursuit of her teaching credential.

OTHER eSPORTS UPDATES

The team held tryouts for Valorant competitors on Friday-Saturday, Sept. 22-23, streaming the match through the SH eSports Twitch account, which it will do for future games and playoffs.

“I plan to play more competitive games in my own time and play more with my team,” said Dang, who’s also a Valorant Gold member. “I’m also working on making strategies for my team.” 

At the same time, the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate team, which has been competing in CIF for the past two years, will have a five-player competitive line-up with newcomer sophomore Julian Machado, who was recruited for his consistent, positive performance in unofficial matches last year, two-year player senior Robert Rouse Jr. said.

“We’ve been wanting him on the team for a very long time, and we finally managed to convince him,” Rouse said.

League of Legends, Rocket League, Brawlhalla and Minecraft teams took all players who were interested; League of Legends and Rocket League lacked enough interested players to hold tryouts, while Brawlhalla and Minecraft are solo games that don’t require a team, Jain said. 

Tim Lee, who plays the Attack Damage Carry role and is ranked Diamond II in League of Legends, recognizes the challenge he and his teammates will face this season.

“Since three of our players are new to the eSports team, it’s going to take some time for them to get used to playing together,” Tim Lee said. “Since a lot of us are upperclassmen, it’s going to be harder to have team practices, so we’ll need to do a lot of individual practices in our own time.”

The eSports president said the League of Legends team hopes to continue learning to get along and work efficiently together.

“We’ve been having team practices two to three times a week, which typically last 1-2 hours,” Jain said. “We mainly play together in the game and make strategies.”

This year more girls have joined eSports with three on the competitive team for Valorant and another three for Overwatch, he said. 

“I think the barrier of entry for girls is becoming smaller as time goes on,” Jain said.

Joyce said the increase of female competitors have made the sport better.

“Having more girls in gaming is fantastic,” she said. “I am happy to see more girls participating. The girls are starting to see that they are ranked as good as the boys are or even better.

“They are less intimidated by the skill level of the boys now.”

The Valorant, Rocket League, Minecraft and Brawlhalla teams are also hoping for future victories.

Jain said students reported having an interest in Brawlhalla, leading to its addition for the first time this year; eSports also hopes to add Overwatch 2 and Fortnite teams once students show more interest.

Valorant, Minecraft and Brawlhalla will compete in the High School Esports League from Monday, Oct. 2-Friday, Nov. 17.

The teams have an upcoming game for the NASEF Fall Open, which is open to all CIF schools, in which they’ll be competing in the League of Legends, Rocket League and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate matches, held from Monday, Oct. 2-Monday, Nov. 6.

League of Legends will play against another school based on a queue system Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 4:15 p.m., and the other games will be starting from Monday-Friday, Oct. 2-6, at different times after school. 

Jain said the team will not stream any matches until reaching playoffs because streaming every week is too strenuous.

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Irene Park
Irene Park, Copy Editor
After spending her freshman year in the Journalism 1 class, sophomore Irene Park takes on the role of one of the copy editors of The Accolade. Park looks forward to contributing to the publication by enhancing reporters' stories. As a cub reporter, she received a Best of SNO award for her story about the unique ways some teachers commemorate Memorial Day. Park plans to strengthen her writing abilities and balance her growing workload while fostering new friendships. Outside of The Accolade, she is the sophomore president of the Korean Culture Club and actively participates in other clubs. In her free time, she watches anime and plays the cello.
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