VINTON, Va. – On Wednesday, three William Byrd students and their coach sat in a computer lab and prepared to compete in the first-ever VHSL sanctioned esports state championship.
The game for the state title was called Rocket League, a high powered hybrid of arcade style soccer and what was described as vehicular mayhem that requires skill and a tremendous amount of teamwork.
Terrier’s Evan Garst, Griffin Horecek, and Payton Meadows were doing the battling, while their game was live-streamed via Twitch in the auditorium, where classmates watched and cheered them on.
Despite falling in the finals to Liberty-Washington in the online battle between the two schools, William Byrd finishes as a state runner-up with a pilot program that has a lot of future positives.
“Their communication is just what makes it,” head coach Mitchel Burkhart said. “If anyone is involved in E-Sports they will tell you communication is key. It’s one of the most important things. I would say good communicators over someone with the best skill any day.That’s what players want to see."
“I think a lot of people don’t realize what esports is doing for these young kids is immersed in technology and colleges want these kids because they know the content that we’re going to need moving on.”