Esports tournament pits players from 6 Valley school districts

Mar. 8—MONTANDON — The Central Susquehanna Esports League held its version of March Madness on Thursday, during a Face-to-Face Rocket League tournament, with players, and their coaches from six Valley school districts competing.

A and B teams from Bewick, Danville, Shamokin, Shikellamy, Selinsgrove, and Warrior Run played against each other in the best two of three games with winners making it to the semifinal and championship rounds.

There was even a shoutcaster, Luke Smith, on hand to do online play-by-play, similar to what you might hear at a televised sporting event.

Winners of the tournament were Warrior Run High School, A team, and Shamokin, B team.

Besides the tournament, attendees explored potential career paths in esports and other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and computer science fields. Interactive exhibits and informational sessions highlighted diverse career opportunities in these rapidly growing industries.

"We're thrilled to host the Face-to-Face Rocket League Tournament and provide students with a platform to showcase their skills while exploring career opportunities in esports and STEM," said Colleen Epler-Ruths, CSIU STEM education consultant. "This event exemplifies our commitment to fostering student engagement and preparing them for future success."

The idea for a tournament did not originate just at the CSIU.

"It came from all of the I.U.s around the state," Epler-Ruths said. "And this fell under educational technology because there are a lot of careers involved with esports — not only just playing the games, but also designing them, marketing, graphical design and running I.T. around it."

Harrisburg University offers esports management and technical degrees where students can design electronic sports.

This was the second year, face to face, Epler-Ruths said "and our third season. We did not do a face-to-face tournament the first season due to the pandemic."

Ty Crossley, the Shamokin team coach, and a social studies teacher at Shamokin High School, said the players chosen were excited about the tournament, very focused.

"More than that, the idea that jobs are being created in this billion dollar industry," is exciting, Crossley said.

"Oh yeah, sure, this is fun, but I want to win," said Jacob Erdman, a senior at Shamokin High School.

Jeff Ryan, Danville Area School District director of information technology, said "it's been my passion to get this tournament started for a long time."