By Melissa McCaghren
TNG eSports, formerly known as Tiger Nation Gamers, recently completed their fall season just shy of making playoffs, but having a strong start in their first full season of game play.
Rocket League, composed of Tanner Myers, Colton Engle and Ian St. Pierre, finished just shy of advancing to playoffs, placing 77th out of 350 teams across the nation.
Coach Josh Satchell however was impressed with how the team did.
“We were fortunate to have two players back from last season, Tanner Myers and Colton Engle. Ian St. Pierre came to us from home schooling and has instantly stood out as our strongest player and team leader,” he said. “All three are very ranked fairly high on Rocket League’s online ladder so I knew these guys were gonna be very competitive before the season even began.
“We played six total matches this season. Each match is best of seven games, each game lasts five minutes, the team with most goals wins the game.”
The team may have not advanced, but finishing in the top third of the nation was something Satchell said they and other teams that came close to the playoffs learned they could hang with the “best of them.”
“We came close to the playoffs in three different games. In addition to Rocket League, our Rainbow Six Siege team missed the playoffs by three spots – seventh place of 18 teams, top four advanced) and our one chess player, Nate McLinsky, finished 56th out of about 150, but needed to make the top 32 to advance,” he said.
“One of the great things about these kids I have competing is their determination. They want to be competitive. Once or twice a week and usually on Saturdays I will open the lab for them to come in and practice. I’ve never had less than four or five kids come in on those days. If we can stick to that determination and commitment to the grind, eventually we will become one of the top teams in the country rather than us facing the best.”
Satchell said he didn’t get to see the team actually play, as players had the option of competing from home.
“As a means to be flexible with COVID and student’s schedules, or if kids are more comfortable with using their own gaming machines, players have the option from home,” Satchell admitted.
“Naturally I’d try to watch these guys from some streaming service like Twitch or YouTube but the HSEL has strict rules about who can and who can’t watch games. So the kids will text me when the match is over and tell me the results. Not the most ideal setup but it works.”
Still, he was happy to get the season completed under their belts, especially a national competition one.
This was especially true after COVID factored in last season.
“Last year we were just starting to settle in when everything got shut down so it left us hungry to get back to the action,” said Satchell.
“This season, we took on teams from Texas, but we also saw teams from California, Nebraska, New Jersey and New York.”
Now, they are set to compete in the spring competitions.
“We will participate in the same 11 games as we did in the winter with one new addition: Counter-Strike, Call of Duty, Overwatch, Valorant, Rainbow Six Siege, Fortnite, Rocket League, NBA 2K21, Hearthstone, Chess and Smash Bros. Ultimate. The new addition this season is Minecraft: Survival Games (Think Hunger Games in a Minecraft environment).”
He said the spring season will start up on March 8, and finish up in early May with the playoffs following after.