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Kent ISD’s esports competition a ‘smash’ 

Some 50 high-school students competed

Kenowa Hills senior Logan Thompson, left, competes against Comstock Park junior Chelsea Field at the Kent County Cup, with reaction from Chelsea’s teammate and sophomore Matthew Jones

Kent ISD — “Don’t get lost in the sauce!” shouted Comstock Park sophomore Matthew Jones from the audience to his teammate, junior Chelsea Field, as she played on the main stage of Kent ISD’s Kent County Cup esports competition.

“It means don’t get too excited about how you are doing, but just keep focusing,” Matthew explained after the match. Chelsea would be the top female player in the competition, placing 16th overall.

Matthew and Chelsea were among about 50 high-school students who participated in the first-ever Kent County Cup esports competition, held last week at Kent Career Tech Center. The event was organized by the Kent ISD Workforce Development team with assistance from Aquinas College Director of Esports Will Wolf. 

According to organizers, the competition was designed to show how esports participation helps develop skills that employers are looking for, such as creativity, quick thinking and teamwork. The goal of the event, which included sessions for parents, was to connect families to careers that would utilize those skills.

The Kent County Cup featured the game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. During the rounds, the best two out of three matches determined the winner. A player was knocked out of the competition after losing two games. 

Supporting One Another

“It is a great event,” said Comstock Park senior Jermichael Pettaway. “It is a great way for people who have never participated in a competition before to get the chance to do so.”

Lowell sophomore Nathan Shaffer said he enjoyed playing Ultimate Smash Bros., but had not been in competitions like the Kent County Cup. When he saw the flier for the event, he decided to join.

About 50 students from schools in Kent County competed in the inaugural Kent County Cup

For parent Barb Reimbold, it was an opportunity to see her son, Caledonia junior Logan Reimbold, compete.

“Caledonia does not have an esports team, so Logan has been mostly going to college tournaments to play,” Reimbold said. “He does not want us there, because you don’t want your parents at a college competition,” she added with a laugh.

What impressed Reimbold the most was the support the players gave one another. In fact, after one player talked about how everyone was better than he was, a Kelloggsville player told him it was all about just playing the game.

Final Round a Nailbiter 

Kelloggsville senior Kenny Nyugen won this year’s Kent County Cup esports competition

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, each player starts with three lifelines. The object of the game is to attack an opponent in a series of moves in order to launch the opponent’s character off the stage. A player loses a lifeline when their character is knocked off the stage and cannot return. 

Coming off a win from one opponent, Logan Reimbold shared how he came from behind to achieve victory.

“I noticed the other player was not shielding when I did certain moves,” he said. “So I decided to go for a signature move and was able to eliminate his last lifeline.”

The top five finishers at this inaugural competition were Kelloggsville senior Kenny Nyugen in first, Logan in second, Grand Rapids Christian High School senior Connor Ryan in third, Grandville High School junior Alex Dixon in fourth and Forest Hills Central High School sophomore Henry Wierenga in fifth.

Read more from Kent ISD: 
Future health care pros sample multiple career focuses
Educations and business leaders team up to help build school-to-work pipeline

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Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma is a reporter covering Kent ISD, Godwin Heights, Kelloggsville, Forest Hills and Comstock Park. The salutatorian for the Hartland Public Schools class of 1985, she changed her colors from blue and maize to green and white by attending Michigan State University, where she majored in journalism. Joanne moved to the Grand Rapids area in 1989, where she started her journalism career at the Advance Newspapers. She later became the editor for On-the-Town magazine, a local arts and entertainment publication. Her eldest daughter is a nurse, working in Holland, and her youngest attends Oakland University. Both are graduates from Byron Center High School. She is a volunteer for the Van Singel Fine Arts Advisory Board and the Kent District Library. In her free time, Joanne enjoys spending time with her family, checking out local theater and keeping up with all the exchange students they have hosted through the years. Read Joanne's full bio


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