Nick Suarez, a recruiting specialist at Stay Plugged In, recently spoke with Drew Schmalz to learn about the esports program at Magnolia High School in West Virginia.
Schmalz started the esports program two years ago and has watched it grow to include both club and varsity teams. The program competes through PlayVS as well as the American Video Game League (AVGL) and the Indy Gaming League. Current titles include Rocket League, Apex Legends, Smash Ultimate, Madden, Overwatch, and Valorant with approximately 50 students participating. The team streams all of their matches on Twitch and even has a student caster - Jacelyn Rohde - to commentate on gameplay.
With such a large group of participants, it is expected that the team would have some standout players. Cameron Riggenbach and Kelson Riggenbach are two of the team's star Rocket League players alongside Gabe Clark, a talented Overwatch player who also competes in Rocket League. Valorant players Jacob Ryan and Caitlyn Sease also bring a strong skill set to the team, with Caitlyn noted as an up-and-coming FPS competitor.
Coach Schmalz has been helping his students prepare for tournaments and considers Herbert Hoover High, Spring Valley, and George Washington High to be among their top competitors in the area. Recently, Magnolia’s team beat Hoover in the State Championship and will soon battle Spring Valley for the Rocket League championship title. With the AVGL Valorant season starting in the next couple of weeks, the team has been competing in the prelims to prepare.
Magnolia High won the PlayVS State Championship for Rocket League this past fall and plans to compete in the PlayVS Cup, a national tournament that takes place at the conclusion of the academic year. Schmalz shared that he is looking to build a dedicated state league for West Virginia.