The Eyes of MSMS

The Vision

The Eyes of MSMS

The Vision

The Eyes of MSMS

The Vision

New games, a new lab and a new system: MSMS esports teams prepare for the upcoming season

Photo provided by Levi Stevens
The Splatoon 3 team plays in the new computer lab. On Feb. 9, MSMS Blue Waves esports team President Levi Stevens announced the addition of a Valorant team captained by senior Ean Choi.

As autumn approaches, the MSMS esports teams gear up for a new season. They all have one goal in mind: playoffs.

This is the second year the Mississippi High School Activities Association is recognizing esports as varsity-level sports. MSMS has six different esports teams, each playing specific games: League of Legends, Splatoon 3, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Rocket League, Madden and Mario Kart 8. 

Jonathan Hester, the esports coach, said he was proud of the teams’ performances last year, but he hopes to see improvements in the upcoming season. 

“Our Super Smash Bros. team made it to finals for the state championship in the spring. They got runner-up, but it is still a very good accomplishment,” Hester said.

As newer additions to MSMS esports, no one knows what to expect from the Madden, Splatoon and Mario Kart teams. 

Senior Colt Sorey, the Madden team captain, said he expects to compete in the playoffs.

“With [Madden] being a new addition, I expect at least one of our team members to make it to the playoffs. We’re all fairly good, but so is the rest of the competition,” Sorey said. “I’m hoping I get a chance to play against the reigning State Champion.”

The League of Legends team, led by senior captain Tony Bradley, competes every Tuesday after classes. As the longest-standing team at MSMS, Bradley said expectations for this year are high.

“Decker and I are dedicated to having more practice days and releasing more [video-on-demand] reviews for our players,” Bradley said. “We also are trying to emphasize the importance of playing outside of practices [and] games so our newer players get more comfortable with the game. Three out of six of our players are reasonably new, so we are trying to put a lot of our effort into helping them grasp the game and improve.” 

Bradley also said he has higher expectations for his team this year. 

“I expect that my underlings perform to the best of their ability and, most importantly, try,” he said. “In previous years, we have had issues of players not putting in any effort [or not] playing out of practice [and] scheduled games.” 

A renovated computer lab specifically designed for esports surprised the returning seniors. With new monitors, connections for Ethernet and a communal space for both Goen and Frazer members, the teams hope it will help better their communication. 

“The renovated lab was a bit of a shocker. We had a meeting with the IT [Department Head], Matthew Fondren, and he announced to us that he had a bunch of monitors that he could provide,” said Levi Stevens, esports president and captain of both the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Splatoon teams. “Over the past week, they worked to mount everything and get entirely set up for Ethernet.” 

To get everything the lab needed for a successful year, Hester worked diligently with administration. 

“This season, I sat down with the administration, and we really kind of went over the program. They basically said to me ‘Hey, this has been growing. We are ready to put some money into it,’” Hester said. “When they asked us what we needed, the biggest thing we needed was space because the internet is a limiting factor of online gaming and Wi-Fi is not stable. We need a hardwired [Ethernet] connection. So, the idea was brought up to us that we could use the Frazer computer lab that isn’t being utilized, and we would be able to have [Ethernet] connections.”

Another concern was the lack of equipment, Hester said. With the new lab, students have access to monitors and other equipment needed for gaming. 

“It gives us the chance to not expect all of our players to have access to the equipment they need. If they don’t have a monitor [or] certain equipment, we can have that for them,” Hester said. 

Having the gaming lab in Frazer is a unique experience for Goen residents. Junior Danica Belingon said she notices some differences. 

“What I find strange is there is a sign-in sheet that Goen residents must sign to be able to go into the game room, but Frazer residents are excluded [from having to sign in]. It’s funny to me to have to message the other captains and ask if they can let me in the building to start setting up my Switch,” Belingon said. 

Hester said he is looking forward to some improvements in leadership and organization this year. 

“We’ve added so many new teams, so we implemented a more organized system where each team has their own captain. We’ve started to meet more regularly with the captains to make sure we stay organized,” Hester said. “Really, organization and leadership has been the main focus of this semester, and I think that’s what we’ll probably continue to focus on next semester.”


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