A Warrenton High School junior became the first student from the R-III district to qualify for the Missouri state esports competition.
For the first time in their school history, a Warrenton student qualified for the state esports competition.
Warrenton junior Tim Washington is the first Warrenton High School student in esports program history to compete at the state tournament. Washington placed ninth at the state competition. He competed in Super Smash Brothers at the state competition after placing second out of 32 competitors at the regional tournament. He won every match at the regional competition until his final match at regionals.
While he was nervous in his first time competing at the state level, Washington said he was more comfortable as the competition went on.
“I kind of got a little bit more comfortable because most people are just kind of like me,” Washington said. “They just wanna play the game.”
Washington has played video games since he was five years old. He really likes competing in fighting games, he said.
Washington said he joined the esports team to try to expand his abilities.
“(I) just kind of just wanted to see if I can, like, get in esports and maybe expand upon my ability to play fighting games and all that,” Washington said.
Warrenton esports advisor Elizabeth Hancock credited Washington for finding competition at his level throughout the season. She said Washington’s flexibility and adaptability in operating different characters helps him excel in the game.
“A lot of players for that game specifically will pick one main character to play as. Which is great and get really good at,” Hancock said. “And somebody recently asked me what’s Tim’s main character? And I said well, that’s hard because Tim has a lot of main characters so that he can make sure that whoever he’s competing against, he has somebody that he can do well with.”
The Warrenton esports program has been officially competing since the spring of 2021. The idea for offering video games to students started in 2018, when a student asked Hancock if he could play video games one day per week in her classroom. The formation of the esports team stemmed from a suggestion from an assistant principal at the time, who noted esports was a growing sport. Warrenton is now a part of the Missouri Scholastic Esports Federation.
Washington stressed the Warrenton esports team is a way to improve skills at a video game while also meeting new friends.
“You can make friends here,” Washington said. “Maybe help them. I mean if they used to play games, maybe help them get their ability at the games.”
Hancock also believes the esports team is a good place to meet new friends. They practice on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays after school during the year. They have multiple seasons each school year.
She also stressed they are welcoming competitors of all skill levels.
“Right now, we take anybody,” Hancock said. “Then there was one season where we had so much interest where we did end up with JV and varsity tryouts and we did have a JV and a varsity team. But we still were able to accommodate everybody that wanted to be able to play. So we’re still at that level…. So we can pretty much, if you’re interested, we can make it happen as long as we can get enough for a team.”