Bob Jones’ Rocket League, League of Legends take championship, runner-up
MADISON – Bob Jones High School had a state crown winner and a state runner-up finish at the Alabama High School Athletic Association or AHSAA E-Sports State Championships held at the Magic City ePlex in Birmingham on May 14.
As first place in the state, the Rocket League E-Sports team at Bob Jones won their third consecutive state championship. During the AHSSA League of Legends State Championship, Bob Jones League of Legends team placed second to claim the state runner-up slot.
Aubree White coaches the team and teaches classes in English and reading lab at Bob Jones.
“Unlike most sports, our playoffs run with all classifications. We compete against all schools from 1A to 7A,” White said.
Rocket League members are Joshua Vannoy, Mateo Santiago and Cooper Skelley, who are juniors, and eighth-grader Luke Scherer.
League of Legends members are seniors Isaac Wang, Scott Reid and Cuong Vo, sophomore David Oliver and freshman Henry Holland.
“Rocket League is a fantastical sport-based video game,” White said. “It features a competitive game mode, based on teamwork and outmaneuvering opponents. Players advance the ball down the field and score goals in their opponents’ net.”
In recent years, E-Sports interest has grown rapidly after its AHSAA sanction. Players in E-Sports strengthen their STEM-related skills in a video-game environment to engage in computer technology, statistical analysis and strategy.
In Birmingham, Bob Jones Rocket League competed against Austin High School in three-member teams to score the most possible goals and defend their own goal. Bob Jones Fusion won the best of 7 series by 4-2, White said.
Bob Jones League of Legends competed against Thompson High School in a team of five working across a map facing obstacles, objectives and enemy champions trying to capture the enemy’s nexus in this PC-based game. Bob Jones lost the best-of-three series, 1-2.
“All E-Sports players for both games need to be very efficient in critical thinking, strategic thinking, mechanics on keyboard and/or controller, quick decision-making, map awareness, game knowledge, teamwork, communication and reflection,” White said.
State senators Tom Butler and Arthur Orr recognized the Rocket League E-Sports team with a resolution and plaques of excellence. Coach White and student Josh Vannoy, along with Bob Jones Principal Sylvia Lambert, met with Butler and Orr to accept the honors.
“I and the students felt honored and grateful for the recognition by our state senators,” White said. “The students are continuing to work hard to represent Bob Jones and Madison City well and consistently in state tournaments. The recognition also makes them hopeful that they will start to receive community support in their successes, and the program will benefit from their hard work and victories.”