Achievements help Marietta High School esports team level up

Photo by Michael Kelly Ron Warner and Isaac Warner unpack one of five monitors the Marietta High School esports team won in its first year of organization. Isaac, who founded the team earlier this year, said the equipment won in a national contest should help the team’s performance.

MARIETTA — Under the organizing power of Isaac Warner and the coaching of his father, Ron Warner, the Marietta High School esports team, MHS Esports, recruited 15 members in a few months, won a national contest and finished 26th out of 92 schools in an Eastern Time Zone league in playing Overwatch.

“This is going to help a lot,” Isaac Warner said, unpacking one of five new monitors in the principal’s office this week. “Better refresh rate and fidelity.”

The monitors were part of a package of peripherals that also included mice and keyboards won by the team in a national contest mounted by the Tilley clothing company, best known for its hats.

“They ran a competitive game within their app, with solo and school competitions, sort of a zombie-killing game,” Isaac said. “The top 10 schools that killed the most zombies won these prizes.”

Killing those zombies is going to help the team move forward in its other endeavors, which include sharpening its game in the team sports Overwatch and CS:GO.

Overwatch is a typical multi-player team esport, in which six players choose from three categories of roles and work together to overcome the opposing team. CS:GO — which stands for Counter Strike: Global Offensive — is another such game. The MHS team has developed proficiency at both, and in the Overwatch league finished 26th out of 92 schools this year, Isaac said.

“Most of the games are team-based, and the players develop teamwork skills, learning how to rely on each other, with different roles for each player. It’s mounted on our ability to work together, it’s team-oriented, and adaptability is crucial,” he said. “As we progress, we’ll see if we can move on to the national qualifiers. The prizes can include scholarships, equipment and facilities.”

The games take place weekly during two eight-week seasons, he said, and like athletic contests start at a specific time. The games can take from half an hour to 90 minutes.

“These new monitors and peripherals will help us build endurance,” he said.

The team is now seeking the core of their playing platform: gaming-level computers.

“Now that the team is established, we’re writing grant applications, looking for sponsors,” he said. “We’re also trying to recruit more players.”

Many of the prospective players need to fit the gaming times into schedules already crowded with other after-school activities, including athletics, he said.

Ron Warner, who also has served as assistant basketball coach, said the team is on track for success.

“These teams and students did a quality job, participating on a weekly basis. The goal is to have this facility so the players can practice and improve their soft skills, like critical thinking and camaraderie,” he said.

Marietta High School principal Chad Rinard sees merit in the project.

“Isaac has really been passionate about this, he even got his dad to coach the team,” Rinard said. “Like other sports, there’s a minimum GPA the student needs to maintain, and that creates an incentive for some of the students to do better. Our goal is to create a room that can be used as an esports arena.

“It’s another way to reach kids, for them to learn to collaborate with a group, and it’s another thing that they can look forward to doing at the end of the day,” he said.

Information on MHS Esports is available by contacting Isaac Warner at isaac.warner@mariettacsdoh.org.