- Associated Press - Saturday, October 21, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Competitive video gaming, known as e-sports, is gaining popularity at Minnesota high schools.

About 30 students at Washington Technology Magnet School in St. Paul are a part of the school’s e-sports team, which began this year, Minnesota Public Radio reported . More than 100 students tried out for the team, school officials said.

The sport requires skills such as reaction time, decision-making and time management, said Mula Lay, a Washington Technology senior.

“Soccer, football and tennis started as a game,” Lay said. “As a sport gains popularity, clubs are formed, teams are formed and professional leagues are formed. That’s what’s happening with e-sports now.”

Students practice every day as they prepare to compete against teams from other schools in tournaments. The Washington Technology team mostly plays a video game called “League of Legends.”

“For my school to be recognizing that the game I love can be played competitively and is being played competitively is just indescribable,” Lay said.

The chance to play video games competitively can be a way to get some students engaged in the rest of school, said Ross Mau, an e-sports coach at Washington Technology.

“We’ve got some kids out there that, you know, school’s not their thing. They’re not the best at school,” Mau said. “Now there’s a part of school that, ‘Oh I’m good at, I’m getting recognized for this.’”

The Minnesota Department of Education doesn’t recognize e-sports as an interscholastic or intramural activity, so it’s a district-level pursuit.

Farmington Senior High School and the Academy for Sciences and Agriculture charter school in Vadnais Heights are two other Twin Cities-area schools that offer e-sports.

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Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org


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