E-Sports squad competes in Smash Brothers brawls, video game battles

Undoubtedly, one of the best things about high school is the long list of various extracurricular activities and clubs that allow students to connect with other students who share their interests. The never ending efforts to ensure that every student can find something they would like resulted in the creation of AT’s new club, E-sports. 

E-sports, otherwise known as electronic sports, adds an even more competitive aspect to video games. Students spend their time having fun while playing various games, but they also host tournaments to make playing more interesting. 

Video game enthusiasts are also able to play on various game systems, as some of the games are played on computers, while some are played on systems like Nintendo Switch. The list of games is still a topic of discussion, but for now players enjoy Super Smash Brothers and Rocket League.

Although the club is just starting out, the school purchased new equipment that does a better job supporting the games. Some of the parts include NVIDIA 3060 graphic cards and Ryzen 5 processors.

E-sports is coached by Mark Garlitz, with the help of English teacher and the club’s cosponsor Robert Budler. Garlitz is a member of AT’s Technology staff, which allows him to use his experience to make sure that everything is running smoothly during the games. 

Garlitz described their efforts to make the club as welcoming as possible, “Kids who gravitate towards more competitive gaming go on one screen, whereas the kids who want to have fun and hang out go on another screen.”

Some students shared about their experience of being a part of the club. “The atmosphere of esports is chill and it’s a cool place to hang out after school. The club could improve if they added more game variety and if they could improve their game setups because they can be inconvenient,” said junior Jimmy Hernandez. 

“There’s a lot of space and most of the members are relaxed, they are friendly people to chat with. The games are cool, but they could add more. The teachers are cool people who also interact with the members in the club and they help keep the area clean and relaxed,” added junior Alex Martinez.

Recently, students participated in District 88’s Esports Invitational, a tournament where students competed against each other in the game Super Smash Brothers. 

The event took place on April 9 and was hosted by Addison Trail, with players being students from both AT and Willowbrook. The winner of the tournament was Willowbrook sophomore Yaris Austria, while AT junior Daniel Urquide and senior Kristopher Guadarrama ended up placing second and third. 

Gartliz shared some hopes for the club’s future, “I hope to add more games, mostly on the PC. Also, I am hoping to get involved with IHSEA and go on some Field Trips to visit college or pro-level E-sport competitions.”

While the E-sports club is a new initiative from the district, it has already created a welcoming environment where students can connect and share their passion for video games. 

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