Oldskool Mario Kart becomes Bethel’s first Esports team to win a State Championship

Oldskool Mario Kart becomes Bethel’s first Esports team to win a State Championship

In just its second year, the Bethel Esports program made history.  The team Oldskool Mario Kart not only won the State Championship, but also made a run at the national title. For a program that is still in its infancy, this success is truly remarkable.

Esports is relatively new on the high school level (it was only officially recognized in 2018), so it is often overlooked. This season though, Bethel players proved that they are just as deserving of respect as athletes in more traditional sports. Oldskool Mario Kart worked long hours during and outside of practice to earn their first State Championship. Led by nationally ranked player Izic Singleton, Sean Hill, LeGary Lee III, Richard Starks, and Noah Castillo prepared thoroughly for every match.

“It [our success] has to deal with team synergy,” Noah Castillo, an alternate for Oldskool Mario Kart, shared. In his view, this synergy was largely due to the leadership of Singleton, who “has given all the other team members coaching, thoughts, and ideas.”

Before each match, Singleton or Hill would help the team review the streams of their opponents to break down their strengths and weaknesses. Castillo reported that, “they really went all in to find out what they …[could] pursue.”

After winning the State Championship, Oldskool defeated a team from Conway High School in Arkansas in the first round of the national playoffs. The team’s run came to an end this past Friday, when they were defeated by the Vahalla Vroomers from Lowndes High School in Georgia, a school that is almost twice Bethel’s size. Regardless of the ups and downs, Oldskool persevered and are already looking forward to what they can achieve next season.

In our culture, gaming is often thought to be nothing but a lazy time passer, but it’s much more than that. It is a team sport; it requires hand eye coordination, quick reaction times, and split second decision making and communication, all of which work the brain and body.

At Bethel, the Esports coach and players welcome anyone interested in the sport to join. Only the best players compete in matches, but anyone is welcome to come try their hand at the games, which include Overwatch, Mario Kart, and Splatoon.

“We put the good players with the beginners,” Richard Starks, team member and equipment manager, said. “This is so they can improve every game.”

In the view of the players, one of the draws of Esports is the way it brings people together and helps build community. “Most of my friends are from the team now,” Castillo said when asked how Esports had impacted his time at Bethel.

The season is over for the year, but training will begin again in the fall. No matter what your skill level, the Esports coach and players welcome your interest and support. If you want to join next season, just show up then and see how your playing compares with your peers’.

The more people learn about and support the Esports program, the more likely it is to grow and continue its winning streak into the future.

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