Esports Pursuing Back-to-Back Championships

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photo by Quinn Nickell

The defending state champion Rocks Esports team is in pursuit of back-to-back championships.

Quinn Nickell, Tri-Editor in Chief

Few teams in any sport at any school can claim to have won a state title in the first year of competition. Trinity’s Esports team can do just that!

After reaching the semifinals last fall and winning state over Shelby County in the spring, many started asking exactly what is Esports?

Varsity player and Trinity senior Jaxon Straub said Esports differs from other more conventional sports in a few ways, but “is actually a lot more similar than I thought it would be.”

Straub was surprised to see how structured and professional  the practices and tournaments are. The team practices and competes in Room C171 in the Communication Arts Center. 

These are people that are incredibly skilled, and it is not easy to suddenly get this good at games.”

— Esports head coach Ben Sobczyk

Straub gives “credit to (coaches) Mr. (Ben) Sobczyk and Mr. (Mitch) Greenwell. They run (Esports) just as any other sport would be run, and credit to the KHSAA as well; they run it just as any other sport would be. So, it is very similar.”

The team has several practices throughout the week, and  practice at home is expected. A tight-knit group, the players share a common interest – Esports.

Straub is excited about this fall season because he thinks there is a chance at the state title again.  The team plays in three leagues: Rocket, Madden and FIFA.

During a recent afternoon, under the direction of head coach Sobczyk and assistant coach Greenwell, the players separated by game into their groups and started practicing without any hesitation.

The players understand that while they play other schools online from around the country, they represent Trinity. Players must have an updated physical form on file and be in good academic standing to practice and play — the same requirements as for all other sports at Trinity.

Trinity Athletic Director Rob Saxton and the administration wanted to give Esports a shot and asked around to see if anyone would be interested in coaching the team. Sobczyk stepped up.

Sobczyk has years of experience with Esports. He said, “I knew it was something I wanted to do. It was easy for me. Most of my life, well before it became a popular, almost mainstream thing. I’ve been involved and gone to tournaments around the United States for probably the last 10 years.”

Student interest in an Esports team was there, but there was much work to do before competition could begin.

Sobczyk expressed pride in what the Esports team has  accomplished so far.

“When you start a program, and in your first year, you win a state title, that is pretty cool,” he said. “I would also say getting a program started from scratch….We had to do literally everything from the very beginning.”

Some of the things that Sobczyk and Greenwell have had to do included starting traditions and designing the team logo. This meant many hours getting everything prepared for the first season of Esports.

Even after winning a title, Sobczyk is proud of his players’ continuing dedication to improving. He said, “These are people that are incredibly skilled, and it is not easy to suddenly get this good at games.”

 

2021 Fall Roster

Rocket League:

  1. Danny Tkachenko
  2. Ethan Alsip
  3. Simon Petruska
  4. Jack Nielsen
  5. Bryce Daugherty
  6. Quinn Cross
  7. Ryan Belt
  8. Dylan McArthur
  9. Colin Frey
  10. Max Hoover
  11. Dane Smith
  12. Angel Olivares

Madden:

  1. Jack Darby
  2. Kemper Ball

FIFA:

  1. Jaxon Straub
  2. Joshua DeLeo
  3. Gabriel Budge
  4. Jacob Tyler