Atascocita esports team showing growth in second year
ATASCOCITA – The trickle-down effect of the international growth of esports is starting to head into the high school level.
At Atascocita High School, the eSports team is heading into its second season of playing in the High School esports League and first in the North America Scholastic Esports Federation, which its fall season begins this week.
Last year, the Atascocita esports team had seven members – this fall the group has grown to 65, including having to build out varsity and junior varsity teams.
"Not that much, I was hoping to get 20," Atascocita esports sponsor Ann Wehrman said.
Before the competitive team was started last year, there were just gaming clubs, which isn't what Atascocita senior Roel Barron wanted to be a part of.
Barron wanted to compete.
"This year has been really good," Barron said. "We've gotten a lot of teams together, especially our Overwatch and Siege teams. It's been good."
VYPE esports: @AtasHS_Esports enters year 2 and has grown from 7 players to 65 | Learn more about the team and its players.
— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) October 2, 2019
Just like the football team at Atascocita High School, the esports team plays by the same rules. The players must be academically eligible, can't have any behavior issues and be a full-time enrolled student.
This approach is preparing for the future – when, not if, UIL could add esports as a statewide competition.
"When it gets to UIL it'll be better to just seamlessly roll over," Atascocita esports sponsor Jeff Mack said.
Atascocita is the only Humble ISD school currently in the High School esports League. But not the only one in Houston.
According to a map on the HSEL website, there are 34 high schools that compete in the Greater Houston area, including The Woodlands, Klein Forest, Klein Collins, Willis, Cypress Woods and Seven Lakes.
The growth of the league is coming in Humble ISD.
"I think Humble ISD is going all in," Wehrman said. "We are going to try and get that going in all the high schools. Some barriers are technology and time – I would like for it to be a class period."
What's the popularity of esports?
In 2017, 27 million people watched the League of Legends Championship. According to a presentation, that was more than Game 7 of the World Series (23.5 million) and the final game of the NBA Finals (18 million) that year.
According to the Atascocita esports website, the team plays Overwatch, Rocket League, Fortnite, CS-GO, Call of Duty, PubG and Rainbow 6 on PC. On console, they play Rainbow 6, Destiny 2, Fortnite, Smash and Overwatch.