School of Mines hosts high school esports tournament

South Dakota School of Mines hosts high school League of Legends tournament.
South Dakota School of Mines hosts high school League of Legends tournament.(Jeffrey Lindblom)
Published: Mar. 10, 2021 at 5:02 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The NFL ranked number one as the most watched sport in The United States during 2020. Number three was the MLB. It’s the number two spot that may surprise you.

Electronic sports, or esports, earned their rank amongst the top of the charts.

That’s why the South Dakota School of Mines created the first esports team in the state.

While esports may have made it towards the top of the list, not everyone thinks of electronics when it comes to sports.

Gavin Eldridge, Captain of the League of Legends team at Mines, wants to strengthen the relationship between skeptical parents and the keyboard.

“Having an older person come out and say, ‘I want you on my team,’ it really helps parents get more involved with it,” says Eldridge. “They start to accept it more.”

The school is sponsoring the first ever Grubby High School Tournament for a video game called League of Legends.

It’s free to enter and open to local area students as both single players, or as a team.

The school’s Esports Coordinator, Mike Vander Heyden, advocates for the success that’s possible through the multibillion dollar industry.

“Definitely encourage kids to look into this league that we’re offering. If your child is interested in esports, encourage their level of involvement on that. The industry is only growing,” says Vander Heyden. “There are tremendous opportunities. You know, scholarship opportunities, but then also possible professional [opportunities] down the line.”

Being a STEM school where students are all too familiar with computers, it’s the perfect link between esports and education.

“I am proud to be a part of esports. I take it very, very personally,” says League of Legends Captain Eldridge. “You know, I love seeing the growth of esports. I love being a part of it. I love being at the forefront of it.”

Entry into the tournament can be done through Discord by any local high school student before March 12. Play will take place on Tuesday, March 16 at 6:00 p.m. and Thursday, March 18 at 6:00 p.m.

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