IHSEA Fall Season Overview
by Luka Perez, Senior at Naperville North
Schools from all over the state of Illinois have begun to prepare for the Illinois High School Sports Association’s 2023 fall season, which features fan-favorite games such as Valorant and League of Legends, while also introducing newcomers like Mario Kart 8 to the Illinois High School Esports scene.
As the IHSEA enters its 6th year of operation, new changes have come to the league since its inception. Most prevalently, the introduction of LeagueOS has brought changes to the league’s game scheduling and communication processes. This year, teams have had to communicate solely through LeagueOS in order to schedule their matches. With this change, the fall season has been shortened to 6 weeks with a 1 week pre-season.
There is a benefit to this recent change. Firstly, teams with competitors and coaches that are new to the IHSEA have gotten some first-hand experience setting up and playing a match according to league standards. The pre-season also allows competitors to be eased into the competition. Mario Kart wise, every competitor is new to the league, so this pre-season allows everybody ample time to adjust to the format and how each game day will go.
On the topic of Mario Kart, predictions for the season are still up in the air. Since this is the first year that the IHSEA has included Mario Kart in it’s game list, it is still unsure who the biggest schools are. However, one school (and competitor) stands apart from the rest. Amos Alonzo Stagg High School is home to the IHSA Mario Kart 8 Deluxe champion, Jack “Pepperjack” G., who looks to continue their reign of dominance from one league to the next. However, the outcome of the season is still uncertain, as it takes more than one player to make a championship winning team.
Moving over to Valorant, competition is as tense as ever. Schools like Jones College Prep are still vying for that elusive state championship they have missed the past two years, and this year, their chances look better than ever. Reigning Champions Lane Tech College Prep’s winning team from last year has suffered from internal problems, meaning that last year's roster is almost completely gone. However, this is not the last we’ve seen of Lane Tech, as they are competing with an all new roster this year, hoping to reclaim the title they won last year.
League of Legends wise, there is only a Varsity league this year due to lack of popularity. However, the competition is still as fierce as ever. The reigning champions Whitney Young seems to have retained a large majority of their roster from last year, which may prove to be a juggernaut in the 2023 season as they seek to go back to back this year. With LoL on the decline, one could begin to wonder if the winner of the 2023 season could be the last IHSEA LoL Champion.
Even with all the predictions one can make, the IHSEA Fall Season is still largely undecided. From reverse sweeps to 3-0’s, nobody knows what the future holds. The only thing that is for certain is that this year the IHSEA is more ambitious than ever.
Thank you for reading, and check back next week for the week 1 summary.