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Esports arena gets packed for high school state championships

Boise State Esports ended its Spring 2023 academic semester in a big way by hosting the Idaho High School Esports State Championships. Hundreds of attendees crammed into the arena Friday & Saturday May 12-13 to cheer on their favorites high school teams. The event capped off an electric Spring semester which also saw Boise State hosting the CECC West Regionals and Mountain West Esports Championships.

Teams from all across Idaho competed in Overwatch, Smash Bros, Valorant, Rocket League, and League of Legends over the course of two days. Valorant and Rocket League took center stage on Friday, and Smash Bros., Overwatch, and League of Legends on Saturday. The arena was full if not near to full capacity for the majority of the event as teams shuffled between the battleground and arena for various matches. Multiple family members of the competitors also showed up throughout the event.

The production team at the arena had their hands full for the two days of the tournament. The team broadcasted over 16 hours of content during the weekend. Streams started each day in the morning and went all the way into the night.

Returning Faces

One major surprise of the event was the return of Paul Vaughan, better known as Sulpan, to the Boise State Esports Arena. Vaughan originally joined the program as a League of Legends player way back at the beginning of the program. He would then switch games one year in and play as a tank on Boise State’s Overwatch team for the remainder of his studies. Vaughan graduated Boise State in 2018 and was one of the first inductees into the Boise State Esports Hall of Fame. Five years since his graduation, Vaughan would be back with his original game, and casting for the League of Legends championship match.

Sulpan on casters desk
Paul “Sulpan” Vaughan joins the Boise State team to cast the championship League match.


New Additions

It wasn’t just a weekend of old faces returning. Boise State showed off a new addition to its arena during the event, The Studio. The Studio is a new broadcast area for the arena. It features an over 6ft tall giant LED screen as well as seating and gaming stations for smaller events that aren’t featured in the main arena. The addition of this area allows two simultaneous broadcasts to be hosted out of the arena facility. The Studio served as the headquarters for Smash Bros and Rocket League during the tournament.

The high school championships marked the first time The Studio was used to host a broadcast. First year students Audrey Norris and Lucas Hall hosted the Smash Bros. broadcast from The Studio on Saturday. The combination of new students broadcasting from a new facility showed a bright future ahead for Boise State Esports.

Picture of broadcast from Boise State Esports Studio
Audrey Norris and Lucas Hall broadcast from the Boise State Esports Studios.

Overall, the event proved to be a very popular success for the entire program. Staff member and caster Hayden Dalton remarked about the high attendance for the event.

“All highschoolers were having a good time and interested in getting to know everyone and play games,” Dalton said. “The Smash tournament was surprisingly packed with a lot of people showing up to watch it every round.”

With the 2023 spring semester now finished, many students and staff are taking well earned vacations for the summer. Varsity players are still being vigilant however. They compete later this summer in multiple national championships for Boise State’s varsity games. And after a few weeks of rest, the Broncos will be back and ready to represent the blue on the national stage!

Written by Jacob Palmer.