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Boise State’s First High School eSports Tournament a Hit

By: Anna Webb   Published 12:00 pm / April 30, 2018

eSprts tournament

Boise High School’s winning League of Legends team, 4 Guys, 1 Mando, after competing at Boise State at the university’s first eSports tournament for high school students on April 21.

More than 100 Idaho high school eSports competitors from 20 schools came to campus on April 21 to take part in Boise State’s first eSports high school tournament. The College of Education, the College of Innovation and Design, and the Department of Educational Technology hosted the competition.

Two teams from Boise High School, Team Feral and 4 Guys, 1 Mando, took first place in Rocket League and League of Legends respectively. Eagle High School’s team, The Idaho Spuddy Buddies, won the top prize in Overwatch. The Middleton Academy team was victorious in Smash 4.

By all accounts, the competition was a success, said Brett Shelton, a professor and department head in the Department of Educational Technology. Twitch, the online eSports platform, streamed the tournament live.

“We filled the Jordan Ballroom with students who enjoyed the generously donated food, beverages and prizes. The broadcasting and streaming added an extra element of prestige because for many of the competitors, this was their first time in a tournament and their first time being highlighted on a Twitch channel,” said Shelton.

Kole Cordier was the advisor for Team Tidal Wave from Skyview High School in Nampa. His students lost a close match to Eagle High in the Overwatch finals.

“We just wanted to say thank you to everyone who helped make this event happen and we had an incredible time.”

Jillana Finnegan, director of programs in the College of Innovation and Design, said that the competition brought “all types of kids — athletes, kids into computers, kids with special needs,” to campus, in addition to 30 volunteers from the community.

“It was so rewarding to hear the kids remark on how ‘pro’ the event looked and felt,” said Finnegan.

In an interview during the recent eSports Showdown in Nevada, Boise State President Bob Kustra said that the university’s support for eSports and its growing popularity have the potential to attract more students to study at Boise State.

A Twitter post from one local fan, Jeff Reynolds backed that up:

“Brilliant idea. Brilliant success. These kids are stoked + falling in love with BSU!”

Shelton is urging the local gaming community to step up and organize the next championship tournament. The university departments will be ready to assist, he added.