Newly formed team competes in popular sport
The newly formed Hurricanes Esports team at Cape Hatteras Secondary School competed in its first matches last week, capturing a victory in its inaugural “Halo” competition. The team of eight students, coached by 2014 CHSS graduates JB Pitetti and Ian Folb, was formed last month to battle it out in the popular sport that involves multi-player video games played competitively.
“We smoked them,” senior Hobson Freye told the Voice just before practice got underway on Feb. 23.
The team is part of the High School Esports League and plays against squads across the country in two games, “Call of Duty” and “Halo.” Each Monday, the Halo team gears up to compete in the school library’s new state-of-the-art computer gaming area. On Fridays, the Call of Duty team takes over the gaming headquarters.
The teams the Hurricanes are assigned to each week are random, and last week’s matchups were challenging.
“Just to put it lightly, [the Halo team] did incredibly, incredibly well in their first game,” said Pitetti. As for the Hurricanes’ Call of Duty team, it was matched with the second-best team in the country and didn’t bring home a win, but it is optimism about the coming season.
“It’s okay, you can build from losses,” acknowledged Pitetti, noting that Call of Duty is a highly competitive game at all levels.
Pitetti and Folb volunteered to lead the new Esports team at the high school, having been longtime Esport competitors who competed at the college level while attending East Carolina University. They say the benefits of the virtual sport go well beyond the wins and losses.
“My biggest thing was that this can appeal to kids who may not have any desire to play a traditional sport. And I think learning the teambuilding fundamentals is super important for interpersonal development and it goes a long way in the real world,” explained Pitetti, who is also a deputy with the Dare County Sheriff’s Department.
“I wanted everyone who maybe felt like a bit of an outcast to have a home here and feel accepted, both after school and in their community – and of course, it is fun,” he said. “We’re blessed, we really have a great group of kids.”
While not all the members of the Esports team compete, Pitetti pointed out that there is a place for everyone on the team, with some members assisting the team and helping with organizing and other tasks. “My goal was to give everyone an opportunity to have team experience whether they were competing directly or not,” he said.