Local gamers compete in annual ESports tournament

Local gamers compete in APS ESports tournament

For a lot of children, it doesn't get much better than pulling up a chair and playing a video game with some friends.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Albuquerque Public Schools came together Saturday to share their love for online gaming. It’s only been a few years since the New Mexico Activities Association officially recognized ESports.

For a lot of children, it doesn’t get much better than pulling up a chair and playing a video game with some friends.

“ESports is for everybody, regardless of who you are and what your background is,” said Scott, a freshman in college.  

“January of 2021, 2022 I came up with this idea and brought it to my friend Scott and said ‘What if we just have this big tournament, all schools involved,’” said Titus Nichols, a senior at La Cueva High School.

So fun that a few years ago, Titus and Scott decided to get a little competitive and introduce ESports for all schools within APS. 

“The growth has been incredible. When I started at La Cueva my freshman year, the last year of COVID online school, we had 50 people maybe in our entire club offering four titles. Now we are going on almost 100 to 150 people in our ESports club, and we are offering eight titles now,” said Nichols.  

“Way back when in 2017, 2018 when the NMAA authorized ESports, I picked up that torch and took on the job of spreading it district-wide,” said Richard Bowman, an APS chief information officer. 

Saturday’s students from across the district gathered for the New Mexico ESports Championship Series Finals.

The game of choice this year was Rocket League, but it won’t be long until they introduce more games at the tournament. 

“Three month long tournament all coming down to this. We had open qualifiers, we started off with 32 teams, now we are down to two. We are going to be bringing it to the stage, they are going to win a trophy. Some medals, it’s going to be pretty sick,” said Nicholas.