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Moorhead's first esports team competing in inaugural season against regional gamers

You won't find a packed stadium or pep band at Moorhead High School's latest team competition. Middle school and senior high students are now part of Moorhead's first-ever esports team.

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Two Spud esports athletes compete in a set of Overwatch games remotely against the Alexandria Cardinals. They are using computers at a lab inside the Moorhead High School Career Academy.
Nick Broadway / WDAY-TV
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MOORHEAD — You can hear and see the intensity the minute you walk into the Spuds esports room.

Jaxon Johnson and his team were seen taking on the Alexandria Cardinals in a game of Overwatch on Wednesday, April 6.

"I think it went pretty good, seeing as we won in less than five minutes," said Nolan Knutson, who made the esports Team as a seventh-grader.

While the esports team members sit at their own computer, headsets allow for the teamwork and much needed communication.

"It's kind of hard to play when you have no one talking to each other, because you're not all on the same page," Johnson explained. "It just helps everyone stay on the same page."

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"Our last Overwatch game that I was a participant in, we would have lost without communication," Jaden Hassebrock said.

Esports head coach Jacob Gunderson said this is the seventh week of competition. They play teams from around Minnesota, as well as other states.

"Communication is one of the biggest things in jobs now, and these students are communicating verbally, written, troubleshooting, technology is going to be there for all of us," Gudnerson said.

A WDAY News crew was there as a Spud player, who mains King K. Rool in "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate," three-stocked Milwaukee's Donkey Kong with a well timed, forward-air while off-stage, dominating the set on Kalos.

In other words, Spuds are doing well.

Microsoft donates software. The school district worked to get the gaming hardware, all for a new team that, despite no turf or ice, is attracting talented students who could use their talents once out of school.

"You can possibly make a living off playing video games," Johnson said, referring to the growing professional video game player leagues around the world.

Esports playoffs in Minnesota start in two weeks.

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