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GHS eSports Team Moves Into New Gaming Lab

The GHS eSports team will be participating in the Illinois High School eSports Association’s (IHSEA) 2019-20 season, and now have a pretty incredible space to meet and practice in.

Glenwood High School’s new gaming lab comes complete with 15 systems optimized for gaming at ultra-high game settings. Specifically, they run a high-end processor (Intel 9700K), a high-end graphics card (Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070), and have a gaming oriented monitor that has a high refresh rate and low latency. They are “future-proof” as they will easily run any game that the teams play for at least the next six years.

GHS eSports coach, Keith Kennedy, says this year there are 18 students who will be playing Overwatch, five who will play League of Legends, and seven who will play Rocket League. “This new space is vitally important to us as a team as it makes it significantly easier to do focused and regular practice sessions.

“Last year, we would just meet online on Sunday and play a few games with those who showed up,” Kennedy continues. “Now we can meet weekly and do skill specific practice, team practice, and work with individuals. Players and coaches can observe all players at once by just walking around, making it easier to give pointers and identify issues. Also, playing in a dedicated environment like this will lead to better team coordination and help us develop inexperienced players. Plus, the state finals are held in-person, so doing all of our play in-person from the start will give us a leg up.”

But why eSports? And why at GHS?

eSports, sometimes called competitive gaming, are incredibly fast growing competitions that draw millions of viewers each year. There are over 96 colleges and universities that are members of the National Association of Collegiate eSports, many of them offering scholarships. Last May, the IHSA - which considers eSports an emerging sport - had 49 teams listed from schools throughout Illinois.

Glenwood High School Principal, Douglas Szcinski, says that he recognizes the explosion of growth in this emerging sport, and the number of scholarship opportunities offered by universities and colleges for students who have these skills is increasing exponentially. “We want to be on the leading edge of this, rather than waiting until we’re the last school to join in,” he says. “The bottom line is, if kids are interested in a particular activity or sport, we’re here to support them. For kids who maybe aren't into athletics or the arts, this gives them another avenue to be active in their school. It’s hoped that GHS eSports will give students a reason to keep their grades up and develop a deeper connection with Glenwood.”