UA Esports has had a successful inaugural season. There are two levels with six students participating in the Gaming Bears:
- Four students make up Ursuline's TAPPS League, Super Smash Brothers Ultimate Team: Alice Adam '25, Crystal Cantu '24, Julissa Guardado '24, and Emma Gomar '26.
- Two students participate in Ursuline's recreational league: Audrey Riskey '25 and Channing Croft '25, and play for fun but don’t compete.
The SSBU Bears team of Coaches are Science teacher Cooper Flickinger, Service Coordinator Gabi Merani, and Science teacher Travis Gilbreath.
Gaming Bears, coaches, and fans meet up for warmups, then play against another TAPPS Esports teams via the online PlayVS platform. Team practice help players build technical skills and strategies.
"It's been great watching the Gaming Bears players grow in skill," said Coach Merani. "They really excelled and continue to do better each match!"
Coach Gilbreath agrees, "It's been a really successful after school program."
The seven-game Spring season began in late February, playing Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. The season concluded in the final match on April 5, in which the UA Gaming Bears defeated Nolan Catholic.
"It's been a lot of fun for me because I was given the opportunity to pursue something I enjoy through competition," said Alice. "I've loved being a part of this team and my teammates are so sweet and supportive. I can already see how much we've improved and I'm sure we will continue to get better and better!"
Emma agrees. "It has been an amazing experience and made me realize how much strategy was incorporated in Super Smash Bros," she said. "It has been an amazing first season getting to know our characters and learning the fundamentals of the game."
As a beginner gamer and Esports player, Crystal has loved participating in the new program.
"The coaches explained everything- buttons, techniques, strategies, tips and tricks, and so much more," she said. "I enjoy playing video games with my friends and experiencing what Esports competitions are like. It's been extremely fun!"
Julissa has also enjoyed getting to know and play with her teammates and has learned a lot through every new match.
"I am looking forward to next season now that I have a little more experience than the first time I started," she said.
"Through this inaugural season our players have grown in their confidence, risk-taking, technical skills, and strategic thinking," said Director of Auxiliary Programs Amy Gilchrist. "As the only all-girls team in the league, we are often competing against players with years of intensive gaming experience. Our UA Gaming Bears have learned to successfully compete head-to-head against more experienced teams. We are very proud of their accomplishments, and look forward to continuing to build a strong team and expanding players’ gaming options."
This new program has been greatly supported by Ursuline’s Technology Department, which has provided not only the Nintendo gaming set up for the Gaming Bears, but also additional gaming computers with Minecraft, Microsoft Flight Simulator, and Kerbal Space Program.
Go Gaming Bears!