Sunny Hills League of Legends team makes history in capturing first season of CIF eSports league title


Members of the Sunny Hills League of Legends team celebrate with principal Allen Whitten and senior Serena Lee after their win over Eleanor Roosevelt in the PlayVS League final Jan. 29 in Room 44. Photo reprinted with permission from Sonya Joyce

After taking the crown and winning $2,500 last year in a national League of Legends tournament, the Sunny Hills League of Legends team proved its dominance again this school year, sweeping Eleanor Roosevelt High School 2-0 and winning the first California Interscholastic Federation [CIF] eSports title.

“Our expectations [coming into this game] were to win easily, but I did not assume we could relax in practice,” coach Casey McDonald said. “Because of us being undefeated in the regular season as the highest seed in the tournament, we knew we were going to have a relatively easy playoff.”

The playoff hosted by PlayVS, an eSports competition platform, involved 51 teams made of five players and lasted until only two remained: Sunny Hills High School (14-0) and Eastvale’s Eleanor Roosevelt High School (9-5). The title match was held Jan. 29 as a best-of-three series.

President of the eSports Club and League of Legends team member senior Gavin Sass said CIF would be sending the team a plaque in the near future with the option to purchase CIF rings. 

The CIF partnered with PlayVS to “[provide] a platform and guidance for CIF member schools to participate in eSports.”

The Lancers’ League of Legends team is looking forward to repeating as champions in the second season of the league, which begins Feb. 14;  in addition, the team will be competing in the North America High School Scholastic League of Legends tournament to defend its title. 

In the Jan. 29 finals, Sunny Hills’ junior Erik Kim played top, senior Cameron Cho played jungle, junior Dylan Kim played mid, junior Soonchang Kwon was the attack damage carry and senior Gavin Sass played support.

“All of the players played a part in the season wins, but Erik was the most reliable and best performer overall, [including this game],” McDonald said. “He far outperformed every top laner in the tournament as well as this game [and] was instrumental in just about every game we played.”

Sunny Hills dominated Roosevelt in the first game with Roosevelt giving up the first blood to Kwon just seven minutes in.

After securing first blood, the team was able to secure three more kills in the same fight and then rotated to the bottom side of the map to secure the Ocean Drake, which restores health and mana while out of combat.

“Our control over the map stood out to me this series,” Sass said. “We were able to control all parts of the map in order to make sure the game headed in the direction we wanted it to go.” 

Just eight minutes after taking the drake, the Lancer gamers were also able to take the first tower.

After winning numerous fights, the final team fight happened at 20 minutes. 

Sunny Hills was able to secure four kills in the fight without losing any of its members and ended the game.

“The most important thing I did for my team was dealing as much damage as I possibly could behind my dominant team,” Kwon said. “Teamwork is very important to us and plays a key role in winning the game.”

Kwon ended with the best kill/death/assist ratio with seven kills, one recorded death and three assists and leading the team in gold and creeper score.

The second game was no different with Sunny Hills showing complete dominance over its opponent, ending the game at around 21 minutes.

Erik Kim recorded the best kill/death/assist ratio with seven kills, one recorded death and two assists and leading the team in gold, creeper score and damage.