With over a month of preparation and preseason, the KO Esports team begins their regular season this week. Led by junior Co-captain Drake Fernald and senior Co-captain Alexa Prahl, the team is focused on rebuilding after losing many seniors last year.
“We have a lot of new freshmen and upperclassmen, all of whom are really talented and really passionate about the game,” Head Coach Ryan Brodeur said.
After one week of preseason, the Esports team has spent the last three weeks organizing teams and preparing, as well as playing preseason matches against other schools. Due to moving players around, the regular season this year has started later than normal.
This year, there are two teams consisting of “Splatoon” players and “Mario Kart” players. In practice, the “Mario Kart” teams have been working on time trialing and getting to know all of the maps and their shortcuts. “We’ve really kind of leaned into map knowledge as something that is absolutely critical for us to be successful,” Coach Brodeur said. The “Splatoon” team has been working on communication in particular, as well as team comps.
The team is looking forward to the return of the Kingswood Oxford Esports Tournament on Oct. 14. The inaugural tournament was hosted by KO last year in the fieldhouse where KO competed against local teams. Coach Brodeur mentioned that there will be different schools this year and a bigger “Mario Kart” group, which is exciting. The team has set a goal to win the KETs this year and have a long, healthy, competitive, and happy season.
Coach Brodeur is excited to work with this new group of players and see where the season takes them. “I’m excited to see how this group does over the course of the season because it’s a very different group,” he said. “I feel like each year we go into, the character of the team changes a little bit. And so I’m always curious to see how that evolves over the course of the season.”
Sophomore Riley Mapp added to that. “I think our team is really good at learning from our past mistakes and building off of that,” he said. “They all play uniquely. They all have their own personalities, which make the game more fun to play.”
When it came to skills to focus on, Coach Brodeur talked about the importance of changing habits that make playing fun to habits that benefit the team. “Video gaming is really challenging in that it’s a personal thing and when you bring it to a competitive group space, it’s hard to change your habits to focus on things that benefit the group as opposed to things that are just the most fun,” he said.
Coach Brodeur complimented the team for their determination and commitment. “There are people who want to be here because they think gaming is important,” he said. “That’s a really nice thing to sense when you’re in the room and practicing. That’s been a really nice sense to have as we’ve gone through the first couple of weeks of practice. They’re here to play as a group”
With all the teams finalized and prepared, the Esports team is ready to begin their season with a rejuvenated group of players. Their first matches are coming up soon, and we know that they will have a fulfilling season.