KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — This weekend, Western Michigan University will host the high school esports state championship in hopes to bring fun and educational opportunities for all students.
The Michigan High School Esports League is the state’s largest competitive esports league, boasting involvement at 94 schools, 385 teams and over 1300 engaged students this spring season, according to director Ryan Cayce.
This weekend, he said the best teams in the state will battle it out at Western’s esports arena over games like League of Legends, Rocket League and Super Smash Brothers Ultimate.
“It’s a beautiful facility, it’s going to have great production, and they’re going to see some amazing talented students on display,” said Cayce.
MHSEL has been around for 3 years and is in its sixth season, according to Cayce.
“Collegiately, there’s a really strong presence in Michigan … So we’re doing our work at the high school level, and even the middle school level, to promote all those great benefits and really try to get schools to offer these programs because there’s great opportunity for students to engage in extracurricular participation that normally haven’t done so before.”
He said 45% of students involved in esports have never participated in any other activities outside of school before. The interest is growing. WMU recently announced it was adding an esports minor to its curriculum.
“There’s so many computer science related skills, STEM related skills … When you have a multi-billion-dollar industry, there are so many different careers available, that if you are a passionate gamer and are into esports, you will absolutely be able to find a career related to your passion,” said Cayce.
The tournament is this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Kalamazoo. For more information or to register, visit the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals website.