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Panthers win at Esports state tournament

The Park Rapids computer gaming club's "League of Legends" team triumphed over a Fargo team in April 1-2 competition in Grand Forks, N.D.

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The Park Rapids Esports club's League of Legends team of Nicholas Graham (at left), Danny Hoyt, Carter Schultz, Levi Trygstad and Dawson Dahring won the Fenworks state tournament April 1-2, 2022 in Grand Forks, N.D.
Contributed / Chris Kirchner

Members of the Park Rapids Esports club won at the Fenworks League state tournament April 1-2 in Grand Forks, N.D.

The League of Legends team of Dawson Dahring, Danny Hoyt, Levi Trygstad, Carter Schultz and Nicholas Graham “faced off against a Fargo school in the championship on the big stage and won big,” coach Chris Kirchner reported.

Esports is a computer gaming activity that started this year at Park Rapids with 18 students participating. In comments to the school board on Feb. 7, Kirchner has described it as the fastest growing high school activity in the U.S. and an alternative for kids who don’t go out for traditional sports.

The club sent four of its five teams to the state tournament, each competing in a different game.

Fenworks founder and CEO Caleb Dschaaek said in an interview with WDAY News that 150 students from across North Dakota and Minnesota competed in the state tournament.

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Some people have misconceptions about Esports, Kirchner told WDAY. “They’ve been called gamers. They’re sitting in their mom’s basements, their dad’s basement, till the wee hours of the night.”

However, Kirchner said, a lot of the skills learned in other sports apply in Esports as well.

“You’re strategizing with your team. You’re working on a team,” he said. “Let’s face it, these kids are going to leave here, get out of high school, graduate, and they’re gonna be working on teams their whole lives.”

“There’s kids out here that are playing video games,” Kirchner added. “Get ’em out here, get ’em having fun, and bring ’em to the spotlight and make them feel special.”

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