Alaska students plug in for state's biggest esports tournament

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PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) Some students come to high school with dreams of being the star quarterback, but the Palmer High esports team has a different goal.

A student from Palmer High Schools practices his moves on Rocket League for the upcoming tournament.

“We just practice teamwork, playing the games, strategies, and just having fun” says Jesse Hushower, a member of the team.

Esports, or competitive video gaming, is a rapidly growing sport across the US.

“Over 200 colleges in the US have collegiate esports teams” says Team Coach Nichelle Henry.

In 2018, the Anchorage and Mat-Su School Districts picked up esports as a way to engage a new group of students.

“I think esports is an incredible opportunity to reach students who have interests that are different from what high school normally caters to.” Henry says.

Get them engaged with the school, and with each other.

“I think for all of us, the relationships that you can form in esports are a meaningful part and an important part of why students in particular participate.” Henry says.

On October 5th, Mat-Su-based tech company MTA will host the state’s biggest esports tournament yet, and the schools are invited.

“Multiple schools are sending multiple teams, and they’re all fighting for a chance of $1,000 towards their esports program.” says MTA Public Relations Manager Jessica Gilbert.

The school teams will face off, but that’s not the only tournament.

“We’re going to have everything from LAN, all the way to console gaming, and over $12,000 in cash and prizes.” Gilbert says.

The competition will be fierce, but the Palmer High team is confident they’ll be the ones to score.

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