Hastings College hosts esports tournament for Nebraska high schoolers

HASTINGS, Neb. (KLKN) — Gearing up with mouse in hand and headsets on, the participants in the Nebraska Schools Esports Association tournament prepared to take home the gold.

High schoolers from around Nebraska gathered at the Gray Center for the Communication Arts on Hastings College’s campus Saturday to show off their skills.

Tournament brackets included matchups for games like Rocket League, Super Smash Brothers Ultimate and Valorant.

The Division III bracket was an afternoon of excitement, with teams from around the state cheering on competitors.

The following schools participated in the NSeSa tournament:

  • Syracuse High School, Syracuse, Neb.
  • Amherst High School, Amherst, Neb.
  • David City High School, David City, Neb.
  • Louisville High School, Louisville, Neb.
  • Kearney Catholic, Kearney, Neb.
  • Ord High School, Ord, Neb.
  • Hershey High School, Hershey, Neb.
  • Stanton High School, Stanton, Neb.

Tate Shoemaker, of Kearney Catholic High School, said he and some of his friends heard about the tournament and decided to create a team.

“This shows that everyone that comes here really cares and enjoys what’s going on and enjoys watching it,” he said.

Shoemaker participated in the Rocket League tournament in the Division III bracket.

His team placed third behind Syracuse High, with the bracket victory going to David City.

Jayden Velazques, a member of the David City team, said a lot of training goes into preparing for e-tournaments.

“I’ve been playing video games my entire life,” Velazques said. “My family’s a bunch of gamers so I got into it that way.”

He said that when he was new to the David City school district he didn’t have to worry about making new friends thanks to e-sports.

“I first wanted to join e-sports because I was new at my school and didn’t know anyone but I knew that people would be there that have the same interests as me,” Velazques said.

Looking at colleges that have e-sports programs is a deciding factor for where Velazques will attend after graduating.

It was a common consensus among other participants that they would like to continue playing after high school.

Midland College’s esports director Jordan Williams said there is more to esports than just playing the game.

“Just like any other club, like any other organization, esports is a way to collect like-minded individuals with a common interest,” Williams said.

Midland acted as one of the sponsors for the tournament, even offering a scholarship for those who placed well.

“One thing that’s tremendous about the state of esports is that it’s still growing,” Williams said.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic helped rocket esports to the forefront of entertainment.

Many gamers have taken to streaming platforms like Twitch, which was used for today’s tournament, to create a platform for growth.

You can find Division III and other tournaments on the following Twitch channels:

For more information about the Nebraska Schools Esports Association, click here.


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