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Matchbox-sized cars collide, float, flip, and score high-flying goals regularly in Provo High School’s ESports Team room. The game is Rocket League, and they are very, very good– Rocket League Varsity Team took home gold alongside Provo’s Smash Brothers team in this year’s Ken Garff ESports regional tournament.
This achievement makes Provo High the first school team ever to earn two first-place titles in a single Ken Garff regional competition, leading to an offered mentorship opportunity with UVU ESports.
The Rocket League team moves into the Play VS. Fall 2022 Utah State High School League competition. Provo played their first playoff game against Albuquerque Academy on November 30th, which Provo won. They then played Organ Mountain High School of New Mexico, winning their game and advancing to the next match. You can watch the Albuquerque Academy game on their YouTube channel, which they regularly update with recent streams, or watch the Organ Mountain High game on their Twitch channel.
We interviewed Varsity Rocket League athlete Jadon Rubow, Gamertag @Rico_Ret, to discuss Provo’s recent success, ESports growth, UVU’s Mentorship opportunity, and the future of ESports in university programs. You can find the transcript and video below.
Q: So, how was the Ken Garff tournament? Who attended?
A: We took the Varsity team and our streamer. We didn’t stream the event, but UVU’s ESports teams streamed.
We had time to warm up before our first game.
I also don’t know how the brackets worked, but it didn’t seem like the game bracketed as a matter of skill. Our initial game was the most difficult.
But they were new teams to us– I didn’t recognize any other regional teams we played, excluding one.
Q: Was there a difference in playing in person? What was the experience of playing in person?
A: It was a different experience to analyze teams before playing our games. That was new.
Truthfully, the biggest reason we joined the tournament was to get a feel for the competition.
ESports is a growing industry. We’ve got a lot of teams joining now. Getting a feel for the new teams was nice.
Q: Have you noticed that growth firsthand? How have ESports changed over the past few years?
A: My first year in ESports could have been better organized. Ken Garff and PlayVersus have come a long way. The local support across our region made the difference.
Our region’s teams make up the best nationally, from what I can tell. Our region is the place to play ESports.
Q: What’s going on with the UVU Mentorship?
A: They’re visiting tomorrow. From what we know, our Varsity team rivals UVU’s top team, so we’ll play first and discuss weaknesses in both of our teams. It should be competitive– I plan on taking some tags.
From what I’ve seen, they’re very coordinated, which we would love to learn from them.
Q: We’re seeing a lot of growth in University ESports programs. Universities are offering scholarships and positions for good players. Would you attend a specific college or university if they offered you a scholarship?
A: Play video games and get paid for it? Absolutely.
Follow us for more interviews and future coverage of Provo High’s ESports team throughout their season in January.