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'Eyes on college': Lake Belton High School esports team wins state championship

In May 2021, the team received a nearly $8,000 grant from the National Guard to help build a campus gaming lab
Belton ISD_Bronco Esports.jpg
Posted at 11:47 AM, Jan 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-10 21:02:49-05

BELTON, Texas — The Bronco Esports APEX Legend Reds' are now state champions - officially winning the 2022 Vanta’s Texas Esports League tournament.

The Lake Belton High School team — consisting of seniors Dylan Klunk and Caden Rice and junior Aiden Scammell — edged out 82 other APEX teams to remain undefeated.

Coach Kristie Shepherd said this win reflects almost 200 hours of practice time.

“It was a great season, and this win was just icing on the cake,” Shepherd said.

“I’m really proud of their determination and dedication to each other and getting better at each competition.”

School officials said Shepherd started the school’s esports program three years ago.

In May 2021, the high school esports team received a nearly $8,000 grant from the National Guard to build a full gaming lab - adding five new stations for the students.

Today, the team now consists of 29 students competing in five games across three different leagues.

Shepherd, a gamer going back to the days of Atari, said she is happy to volunteer her time to support these students.

“I relate to these kids so much and understand the draw to these games,” she said.

“I love seeing a group of kids that sometimes don’t get to be involved have a platform, a voice, a new door to opportunities that they didn’t know existed.”

Scammell said winning the state championship is also garnering his fellow high school team members lots of interest from colleges.

Scammell said he hopes to continue esports in college as he studies something in the computer field — computer science, cybersecurity/networking, or software development.

“We, as a team, really appreciate everything we have and everyone who supports us,” he said.

“We plan to get better and do it again next season.”