Esports Club welcomes all gamers


Gaming setup that senior Brian Nguyen uses to play the Esport Club games and tournaments.

Ethan Moran, Staff Writer

The Esports club offers a friendly environment where students interact and play video games together.

“A few years ago, some of my government students who were really passionate about gaming came to me and asked to start a club,” said club sponsor Jakob Saunders.

During the pandemic, it became a great way to connect with other students.

“Esports club has a competitive side and a casual side, so it’s really fun for all spectrums of gamers. If you want to hang out and maybe play some Super Smash Bros with some people, or you want to play on our competitive Rocket League team, we really want to include everyone and anyone who is interested,” said junior Paul Wiskow.

According to Saunders, this past year was a huge first step for the Esports program.

“We fielded two Rocket League teams, who both finished with winning records. One of our Rocket League teams qualified for the official VHSL playoffs as a #6 seed out of more than 50 teams in Virginia and had a solid run through the playoffs, but fell just short in the quarterfinals. All of our starting members will be returning next year, so we are hoping to build on this year’s success,” said Saunders.

After winning the Rocket League Championship against Yorktown in a tournament of 16 schools on May 20, they will compete against other Virginia high schools, such as Yorktown, Landstown, and the Governor’s Academy in upcoming tournaments.

Although it started as just a club, esports continues to make strides to become a school sport.

“VHSL announced they were going to offer esports as an official school sport through PlayVS. We were really excited to take advantage of the opportunity because we have some excellent gamers here at Ocean Lakes,” said Saunders.

The Esports club plays many video games, such as popular brand names like League Of Legends, Rocket League, and Super Smash Bros. They recently had an interest meeting, and 20 students participated. The club has 40 members in all.

“I joined the Esports club because I wanted a place where I could improve my skills in Rocket League, and I also just wanted a place where I could talk about video games.” said freshman Matthew Keith.

Club sponsor Jakob Saunders highlighted the hanging out part specifically.

“We’re also welcoming of any gamers who just want to meet up with other gamers and hang out. It’s been really an honor to watch this club take off and our teams perform,” said Saunders of their first season.