Ardrey Kell captures first-ever CMS esports varsity championship

The newly-launched league wrapped up its inaugural season with Wednesday night’s tournament.
Ardrey Kell captured the first-ever CMS esports championship with a 3-0 sweep over Olympic.
Published: Dec. 14, 2022 at 11:06 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The newest varsity sport in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools system has its first champion.

The newly-launched varsity esports league wrapped up its inaugural season with Wednesday night’s championship tournament between the top 12 teams in the school system.

Two different competitions comprised the night: e-sports, featuring teams of three competing against each other in games of the video game ‘Rocket League,’ and the STEM competition, which saw teams build and code their own video games and receive judgment on their execution and presentation of those games.

Ardrey Kell took home the esports title, while J.T. Williams Montessori won the STEM competition.

“Honestly don’t know what to say, it’s an honor,” Haris Mukthar, Ardrey Kell’s MVP said. “When I first came in I’d say we weren’t the best team in the league, but as the season went on we became the best team in the league and ended up winning it all.”

Esports are rapidly becoming the fastest-growing sport in the United States. The largest tournaments consistently sell out NFL and NBA arenas. Now, CMS students are getting the chance to get in at the ground floor of a growing industry.

“Esports is going nowhere but up,” league commissioner Charlie Mulligan said. “And for us to be the first league, it really shows the vision of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, and I guess I can’t wait to do more.”

This CMS league is providing students with multiple new avenues to further their education. Several local colleges were on-hand for this event, promoting their own e-sports leagues and recruiting players for scholarships.

The coding and computer science skills learned are also preparing students to be better equipped for the modern job market.

“They’re learning a skill that they can go get a job for,” city councilman and league organizer Tariq Bokhari said. “And that is really the underlying premise, that we as an entire nation are trying to focus on, incorporating more STEM education in creative ways.”

Related: Esports coming to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools