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May 26, 2022

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Esports gets go-ahead at Battle Ground, Prairie high schools

The Columbian
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Battle Ground Public Schools Superintendent Denny Waters watches an esports practice at Battle Ground High School.
Battle Ground Public Schools Superintendent Denny Waters watches an esports practice at Battle Ground High School. (Photo contributed by Battle Ground Public Schools) Photo Gallery

BATTLE GROUND — The esports teams at Battle Ground and Prairie high schools started practice earlier this month, with their first matches Oct. 11. The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, which governs youth sports in the state, announced in June a partnership with CSL Esports, the nation’s largest collegiate esports league, to launch a two-year trial program. There are 45 high school teams this season, including Union High School in Evergreen Public Schools. Both the Camas and Washougal school districts also have esports clubs for students, according to a news release from Battle Ground Public Schools. The school district upgraded some library computers and added a few more with the capacity to run the esports games Rocket League, DOTA 2 and League of Legends, which were chosen for WIAA competitions. A total of 15 students are participating so far — 10 at Battle Ground High School and five at Prairie High School. “They’re learning communication, teamwork and the skills of being able to navigate these systems,” said Rob Pollock, Battle Ground High School business technology teacher and esports coach. WIAA said its goal is to broadcast up to three matches per week through the streaming service Twitch. Both the Battle Ground and Prairie coaches said they hope to introduce the ability for people to watch their matches at a later date. The cost of esports is funded by levy dollars and fees paid by the student participants.

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