2022 Esports League of Legends Team Wins State

Second straight state win for the Academy Esports team

The Albuquerque Academy Esports League of Legends team won the 4A NMAA state title for the second consecutive year on April 22, 2022. The state championships were held in person for the first time. The team is coached by an impressive group: head coach Jennifer Alford and assistant coaches Jim King, Kevin Fowler, John Cash, Samantha Cafferky, Jessica Becenti, and Isaiah Crowe.

State Champion League of Legends team
Front, L-R: Luke Blair-Nolen, Stephen Clem, Joanne Li.
Rear, L-R: Jen Alford, George Rule, Beck Wilson-Scott, Will Drescher, William Yun, Isaiah Crowe (Courtesy of Jen Alford)

Esports is projected to be a $1.8 billion industry by the end of 2022 which is about equal to sports such as volleyball and lacrosse. Esports is proving extremely profitable and constantly growing in popularity, and this is largely due to the accessibility of the sport. When thinking about Esports it is important to note that there are four main types of games: player vs. player (PvP), multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), real-time strategy (RTS), and first-person shooter (FPS). League of Legends, the main game in which the Academy Esports team plays, is a strategic team-based game and is under the MOBA category.
The Esports team began two years ago when a group of friends began playing together at school. Joanne Li ‘23 stated, “We have been a team quotation ever since ninth grade, but we basically just met up in the commons.” Despite the modest upbringing of Esports to Academy, they have managed to become a two-time state-winning team. The 2022 state League of Legends state team consists of five juniors: Stephen Clem ’23, Will Drescher ’23, Joanne Li ’23, Beck Wilson-Scott ’23, and William Yun ’23.

The esports playing field! (Courtesy of Jen Alford)

A year ago, the Esports team stated that they would like to expand the variety of games they played and began introducing games of varying competitiveness. Despite this, the team’s two primary games are League of Legends and Rocket League, however, there are two games that were newly introduced this year: Mario Kart and Madden. Mario Kart is a racing game and Madden is similar to football. New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA) is expected to introduce new competition-approved games to the line-up for the upcoming 2022-2023 season.

Repeating NMAA 4A State Champs! (Courtesy of Jen Alford)

One year ago the Esports team didn’t have a designated area where they were able to practice. Now they have established their own official computer lab in the Administration building. Li expressed that the lab “ turned out to be the best decision.” Have you ever walked by the room in the Administration building with flashy chairs and an extensive set of computer monitors and consoles? Well, that would be the Esports team’s new computer lab, implemented in August 2021. Because of the new lab, “the team has had a lot more playing time together,” stated Ms. Alford.

The Esports team is available to any students 9-12. The only requirement is the enjoyment of gaming and a basic understanding of the games. To anyone interested in joining, as Li says, “Just go in there to have fun, and then on the side, you learn how to play the game.”