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Ethan Clifford, Brody Sanders, and Mason McNulty, Luke Dwenger and Aiden Ashby (left to right) are pictured working with members of the Xavier University Rocket League team in a recent e-training” session.

GREENSBURG — Greensburg Junior High School has always gone beyond the call of duty in preparing their students for successful activities, and they’ve also done an above-and-beyond job of preparing their students for the increasingly important lessons of the virtual world online. So it’s with no apparent surprise that Technology Integrationist and Coordinator of STEM Education Nick Parcell has another title. He is also the “Esports Coach,” and his students are learning the world of competition sports in the virtual world.

Parcell coaches the Greensburg Junior High’s Esports team; students in grades 6 to 8 participate in Rocket League. In sporting lingo, that would be three competitive teams and four non-competitive teams.

The Esports program at GCHS is only three years old, but students have already had tremendous success with it.

Esports is competitive, organized video gaming in which students can participate with other students from different schools, much like traditional athletics.

Practicing two days per week after school since the beginning of October, two of the competitive teams at the junior high – the “Blue” and the “White” teams – participated in the recent Garden State Esports Rocket League Championship Season.

While the White Team did not advance, the Blue Team, consisting of students Mason McNulty, Ethan Clifford, Brody Sanders and Josh Alexander, did. They will compete in the semifinals at noon December 18, which will be streamed at www.twitch.tv/gardenstateesports.

One other competitive team participated in the Indiana Middle School Esports Network Championship Season, and this team will compete in the finals at 4:30 p.m. December 16.This team, made up of students Luke Dwenger, Aiden Ashby, Xaiven Ray and Joe Catron, are competing for the first time in IMSEN.

“People think of esports as just playing games, but it is actually a lot more,” said Parcell. “In order to be successful, kids need to learn communication skills, analyze and reflect, and have situational awareness. Plus, they really need to understand what it means to be part of a team. They learn to understand if what they are doing is going to benefit the team or themselves. I am so proud of the work that all of the teams have put in this year.”

For information on the New Jersey Esports competition, go to www.gsesports.org/competitions/.

For more information on the Esports program at GJHS, contact Parcell at 812-663 -7523 or email at nparcell@greensburg.k12.in.us.

Contact Bill Rethlake at 812-663-3111, ext 217011 or email bill.rethlake@greensburgdailynews.com

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