eSports adviser helps create Minnesota league

League to provide new opportunities

Senior+Michael+Ramirez+works+with+eSports+team+to+plan+strategies+for+their+next+game.+eSports+has+its+next+meeting+Dec.+12+to+prepare+for+upcoming+tournaments.
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eSports adviser helps create Minnesota league

Senior Michael Ramirez works with eSports team to plan strategies for their next game. eSports has its next meeting Dec. 12 to prepare for upcoming tournaments.

Senior Michael Ramirez works with eSports team to plan strategies for their next game. eSports has its next meeting Dec. 12 to prepare for upcoming tournaments.

Sofia Seewald

Senior Michael Ramirez works with eSports team to plan strategies for their next game. eSports has its next meeting Dec. 12 to prepare for upcoming tournaments.

Sofia Seewald

Sofia Seewald

Senior Michael Ramirez works with eSports team to plan strategies for their next game. eSports has its next meeting Dec. 12 to prepare for upcoming tournaments.

Kate Schneider

eSports adviser Jacob Utities said he’s feeling very confident so far this year because of the opportunities given to new players and how eSports is continuing to grow in numbers.

“I’m really looking forward to a lot more opportunities for both my teams and all the high schools in the area to compete in person,” Utities said. “I’m also really pumped about the leadership in the club this year, Joseph (Lindstrom) has been doing an awesome job as the captain and I’ve been super proud to see what him and the other captains have been doing. I’m happy that our numbers are still holding strong, we have over 40 people in the club.”

According to senior Michael Ramirez, his goals for this year are to take advantage of every local competition, so him and his teammates will be better prepared for higher stakes national tournaments.

“I hope to be invited to many on-site tournaments in Minneapolis and compete at the highest difficulty possible to prepare for Nationals. Nationals is the goal for my team and we strive to win every game, no matter how hard or impossible it may be,” Ramirez said.

Sophomore Cole Blavat said because they don’t get to compete in person often and only a small group is able to go, he hopes to go to as many of the in person tournaments as possible.

“My current goal is to do well in the on-site tournaments of the winter season. Normally, we just play from home. However, in the winter our coach will enlist us into a tournament. We’re going to have tryouts for the tournaments, as we can only bring five people to play,” Blavat said.

My favorite part of being in the eSports community for so long is developing many friendships along the way and seeing everyone improve in not only their gaming ability, but their entire personality and confidence that was brought out by the gaming community”

— Michael Ramirez

Utities said he has been working this year to create a league where teams from across Minnesota can compete in person, and he is also striving to make eSports a state sport.

“This year, there’s going to be a Minnesota state varsity league,” Utities said. “The Minnesota Esports Coordinators (MNEC), an organization I founded when I was still working at Park, is creating the first Minnesota state league in hopes that once we have done that, we will be able to go to the Minnesota State High School League and try to get it accepted as a state sport.”

According to Ramirez, meeting other teams in person will create a more competitive environment and also help build relationships between teammates and opponents.

“A Minnesota league would be very big news for our club. We would have more on-site tournaments and would make our club feel more professional and closer to real sports. We would meet our opponents and face them in the same building rather than having a less emotional game with players miles and miles apart from each other. The league would feel more personal and inclusive,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez said the community created by eSports has helped him make new friends and has allows him to watch his teammates grow.

“My favorite part of being in the eSports community for so long is developing many friendships along the way and seeing everyone improve in not only their gaming ability, but their entire personality and confidence that was brought out by the gaming community,” Ramirez said.

According to Utities, Park is one of the original eSports teams in the state and the creation of a Minnesota league gives Park a chance to see how they measure up to other schools.

“The next big thing for us is seeing how St. Louis Park can represent Minnesota because we were the first program in the state, we are the most decorated,” Utities said. “I’m really looking forward to when we can faceoff against the big powerhouses around the area.”

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