13 Esports Enters Year Two at Aquinas Aquinas has always offered a wide variety of co-curricular programs for students to get involved in, and beginning last school year, Aquinas added another – Esports. For those who are unfamiliar with Esports, it’s organized multiplayer video game competitions that can be played individually or as teams. Initially, Aquinas started with just a high school team, moderated by Aquinas science teacher Liam Flood, but with interest from the students, a middle school team was added in the spring, which is moderated by fellow Aquinas science teacher Peter Huber ‘17. “I ran videogames club just for fun for about nine years, and the kids would ask me every year about starting Esports,” said Flood. “It looked like it was going to happen before COVID, but then that was put aside, until last school year,” he said. One of the catalysts for starting the Esports league at Aquinas was the completion of room 308, which houses the school’s virtual reality capabilities and five high-end MSI gaming machines that the kids use for competition. Depending on the game, some will use the keyboard and mouse, however, others will bring their own Xbox or PlayStation® controllers, which are compatible with the gaming machines. Aquinas is a member of the High School Esports League (HSEL) and Middle School Esports League (MSEL), which allows our Aquinas students to compete with students nationwide. Eighth grader Liam Williams – who has been a member of the middle school team for two seasons said, “Instead of just playing at home, it gives me an opportunity to play for Aquinas.” Last year, in its inaugural year, Aquinas did quite well, achieving the following: • Fall 2022 Regular season 6th place in Eastern Regional in Rocket League® • 2022 State Quarterfinals in Rocket League® • Fall 2022 Eastern Regional Championship Quarterfinals in Rocket League® • Spring 2023 Regular Season 13th place in Eastern Regional in Rocket League® • Spring 2023 Eastern Regional Championship First Round in Rocket League® • Spring 2023 Middle School National Championship 3rd Place in Minecraft® This year, Aquinas is competing in Rocket League®, Chess, and Super Smash Bros™, with plans to add Valorant for the high school team this spring. As far as the benefits of having Esports at Aquinas, Liam Flood said, “It’s another skill kids can show off and positively represent Aquinas with.”