TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - While sports during the pandemic has been a challenge for many schools, one group of students at Salpointe Catholic High School are proving anyone can be an athlete in a virtual world.
Launched in August, 22 students currently make up the Lancers' Esports Team.
These esports athletes compete in the AIA-regulated sports video games of League of Legends and Rocket League. Salpointe fields both varsity and junior varsity teams for both esports.
Rocket League is a three-on-three game in a 3D arena played much like soccer.
League of Legends is a five-on-five game that uses team strategies, like hockey, to earn the win.
Right now, the team competes for three or four days a week to potentially earn college scholarships.
Sophomore Felipe Garcia said esports also gives these students a chance to be part of a team atmosphere in this new virtual world.
“I’m happy that it happened now because we don’t get to see each other as often. So it’s a great experience. I get to make some new friends, talk to some old friends, play with them, and compete for the school. That’s the fun," Garcia said.
Garcia added that esports helps improve critical thinking, teamwork, communication, and sportsmanship skills.
In fact, studies show esports has helped over 80,000 students to improve grades, attendance, and classroom engagement.
Now, Salpointe joins the playing field, already showing promise and potential.
At this time, the Lancers' League of Legends team has only lost one match and that was to the reigning state champs.
Meanwhile, the Lancer’s Rocket League team is currently ranked in the top 10 of its division.