Wayne State College hosts high school esports state tournament

WAYNE, Neb. - Over 100 students from across Nebraska competed for an esports state title Friday.

"Things have been really exciting," said Wayne State College esports coordinator Nick Sutton. "The teams are celebrating. They're hyped. They're amped. They're excited to play. They're excited to come see Wayne State."

There are 30 high school esports programs in the state.

"Really seeing the high school scene start to grow recently," said Sutton. "It's nice that we can connect with that community and start to bring it together."

At Friday's event, coaches were able to see first-hand how fast the sport is growing.

"It is exploding," said Louisville esports coach Nate Simons. "Schools are definitely seeing a need for this type of thing."

This is only the third Nebraska Schools Esports Association (NSESA) state tournament, but the first year of competition for some kids.

Coaches say COVID-19 took away their chances of competitive play last year.

"Most of the kids will play games at home, but there's something different about being in the same room practicing together," said Simons.

Sutton says he hopes to see more events like this in the future.

"Being able to experience this type of environment can really help you as a player...," said Sutton. "I think it just creates better players overall."