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Davis Journal

Students test their gaming skills at Esport competition

Apr 22, 2021 02:20PM ● By Becky Ginos

FARMINGTON—Students from more than 20 different schools showed off their video gaming skills last week at an Esport tournament held at Farmington High School. Teams at Farmington High played in person against teams from seven different districts who competed remotely. The tournament is run by Ken Garff’s Success in Education program.

“Esports (electronic) are video games that are played like any other sports competitively,” said Farmington High teacher Jacob Craner. “Most kids have been playing on their own time. We have tryouts and a standing team. They have to perform certain tasks in the game and play against each other in a tournament type of way.”

The team meets twice a week after school, he said. “We play four different games and have a total of 50 players. They play Rocket League, League of Legends, Super Smash Bros. and Overwatch.”

Ian Regis and Dawson Skalka were working as a team during the tournament. “I got into it my sophomore year and started to play competitively,” said Regis, a junior at FHS. “I’m on the varsity team so I’ve been running plays with them.”

“I’ve started playing League of Legends back in the sixth grade,” said Skalka, a senior. “I’ve been playing since last year. I wanted to try out and see how far I could go.”

Both enjoy the camaraderie of the sport. “I like that it’s a team game,” Regis said. “You get to play with people you know. It makes it more fun.”

“I like the communication and people you meet,” Skalka said. 

“We have more than 600 students participating,” said Joel Marquez, director of Ken Garff’s Code to Success & Esports. “Farmington has a strong team. We want to give every student the opportunity to play and have fun and be part of something.”

There’s a pathway in computer science and IT if they want to follow that career, he said. “There are 1,500 computer science positions that need to be filled in Utah. We want them to train for those.”

It’s all about getting kids out of their basement to be part of a team, Marquez said. “There’s the mental aspect too. It helps them socially as well.”

The winner of each game gets to design their own trophy with a 3D printer at the University of Utah, he said. “Other winners get two gaming chairs for their school and multi-passes to FanX.”

It’s the first of many they will be hosting, said Marquez. “We’re excited for the future of Esports and making it a reality for these students. It’s great to see.”