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The Student News Site of Gretna East High School

The Wingspan

The Student News Site of Gretna East High School

The Wingspan

Esports team sees success, watches out for new competitors

Eyes+on+the+screen%2C+sophomores+Jackson+Omel%2C+Zachary+Thompson+and+Weldon+compete+in+the+Overwatch+2+finals+against+York.+The+team+ended+up+losing+0-2%2C+earning+second+place.
Kimberly Ingraham-Beck
Eyes on the screen, sophomores Jackson Omel, Zachary Thompson and Weldon compete in the “Overwatch 2” finals against York. The team ended up losing 0-2, earning second place.

After the school’s esports varsity “Overwatch 2” team competed in a national winter competition, earning a first-place prize, the team took on their first statewide competition, the Nebraska E-Sports Electronic Art’s Division II Competition (NESEA Division II) on Feb. 2. The team beat their biggest rival, Platteview, but then lost against the home team, York, to end up as the Class B runner-up.
“It was very stressful,” sophomore Jackson Omel said. “We were expecting our hardest competition to be with Platteview, but we did well against them.”
“Overwatch 2” is a fast-paced 5v5 (5-person team versus 5-person team), first-person shooter game, and much like capture the flag, gamers try to take the other team’s cargo while fighting each other with cartoony and sci-fi weapons.
“Much of it is just communication and staying together as a team,” Omel said. “Since the game goes very fast, it’s important to be clear and concise.”
This wasn’t the first time the Griffins took on the Platteview Trojans in esports as the team played against them in the Vanta League, a private national tournament, in December when the Griffins took home first place. However, in February, at the home team’s high school, the Varsity team lost against York.
“We went to the finals, and it was us against York, which we’d already beaten, so we didn’t think anything of it, but they had a different team than when we played, and this team is all seniors except one player,” esports sponsor Kimberly Ingraham-Beck said.
After competing against each other, the Griffins lost 0-2 against the York Dukes.
Most competitions and scrimmages for “Overwatch 2” have been online and streamed in the esports room, room 336; however, preliminaries and finals in Feburary were their first in-person competitions this year and their first experience competing at State. Giving them some experience though, was the fact that many of the team members were on the JV esports team last year at Gretna High, who ended up being the Division I Champions this year.
“Gretna High School has a dynamite Overwatch team,” Ingraham-Beck said, “legitimately one of the best in the country. We also had multiple JV teams [last year] that current GEHS varsity gamers were a part of, but they didn’t get as much attention. So, it’s their [the varsity “Overwatch 2” team’s] first time to get out from under the other team at Gretna High and shine.”
Team captain, sophomore Zachary Thompson was one of the members of the Dragon JV team last year.
“Being on the JV team was fun,” Thompson said. “It was less competitive but still fun since I played with my friends.”
Going forward, the team hopes to grow in numbers, but according to Ingraham-Beck, there aren’t enough competitors playing consistently to make a Griffin JV team in addition to the varsity team this year, but hopes that the addition of different games such as “Rocket League,” “Fortnite” and “Splatoon” to their competition schedule for next winter will draw in more gamers who join the team.`
“We can always get more people,” she said.
Anyone who wishes to give esports a try is welcome to. The team typically practices three times a week after school in the esports room, and they can even practice from home.
“To join, you show up, knock on the door, say ‘I’d like to play,’ and we take it from there,” Ingraham-Beck said.

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About the Contributor
Onnika Moore, Editor
Onnika Moore is a junior at Gretna East High School. She was on the Gretna Media staff at Gretna High School for the past two year, and this year at Gretna East, she has earned an editor position. Her goals for journalism this year are to win State awards and build the program from the ground up. Journalism is the only school activity she is involved in, but with her free time, she enjoys drawing, reading and writing. She also loves to spend time with her two cats, Sprinkles and Cylis. 
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