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Worthington High School esports coach looks to the future

Worthington’s esports club started two years ago, and students participated in competitions both years.

Mir Gossom celebrates a round win with Edgar Méndez Ochoa and other members of the Worthington High School esports team during the state competition earlier this year.
Mir Gossom celebrates a round win with Edgar Méndez Ochoa and other members of the Worthington High School esports team during the state competition earlier this year.
Submitted photo
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WORTHINGTON — After just two years, Worthington High School’s esports team competed at the state level this year, and though they lost in their first round, it’s clear the team has a bright future ahead.

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“We were not expecting to go to state,” said William Merida, WHS special education paraprofessional and esports director. “The team tried their best in the first round against Rogers High School, but they lost 6-13.”

Rogers ended up taking second place out of the eight teams participating.

Worthington’s esports club started two years ago, and students participated in competitions both years. Last year, the team focused on the High School Esport League. This year, they competed in the Minnesota Varsity League, which became official this past school year, Merida said.

“Although not recognized by the (Minnesota State High School League), this was as official as it is going to get until they do,” he added.

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The Worthington group chose to compete in Valorant, a first-person hero shooter with five-person teams. In hero shooters, players can choose from a roster of different characters, each with their own specialized skill sets, allowing for a vast array of gameplay results as different abilities synergize and play off each other as teams or opposition.

Omar Robles talks to a teammate about potential strategies to implement during the state esports competition.
Omar Robles talks to a teammate about potential strategies to implement during the state esports competition.
Submitted photo

“The kids already played a bit of Valorant, and out of the games that were being offered, they chose to participate in that,” Merida said.

Other options in the MNVL would’ve been Halo Infinite, Rocket League, Super Smash Brothers: Ultimate, Minecraft and chess.

The team, composed of Edgar Méndez Ochoa, Alexander Reum, Anthony Quintanilla, Cristina Magaña, Omar Robles, Mir Gossom and Kaw Tha Blay, came together at the last minute and almost no one knew each other initially — a rocky start for a game heavily based on teamwork and communication.

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“They played their first pre-season game and all of them were sure that the team had no potential due to communication issues and not getting along,” Merida recalled. “This changed so much, and they grew to become a team within nine weeks.”

The students competed in one game a week and also practiced together two to three times a week, and forged themselves into a team by the time the state tournament rolled around. Since the school year and the esports season are over, the team is taking a much-deserved break from competition.

“They … plan on making it again to state, and (to) improve and take what they learned this time and implement (for) the next season,” said Merida, encouraging incoming freshmen and other students to join the group.

A 1999 graduate of Jackson County Central and a 2003 graduate of Augsburg College, Kari Lucin started writing for newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2006. During her time as a reporter, she covered beats including education, watershed, county and agriculture, and frequently wrote about health and science. She has also served as an online content coordinator and an engagement specialist at various Forum Communications properties. She was a marketing assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville for two years, where she did design work in addition to writing and social media management.

Lucin is currently a community editor with the Globe of Worthington.

Email: klucin@dglobe.com
Phone: (507) 376-7319
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