Game On - Spring 2024

46 GAME ON | SPRING 2024 And the esports team played a pivotal role in the abundance I t’s been said time and time again, the 2023 spring sea- son for Gilbert activities was nothing short of historic. State championship trophies and medals came streaming through the front door of the high school on a weekly basis throughout late May and early June, not to mention a few state runner-up and third-place tro- phies as well.

of success as well. In just its second year of exis- tence in 2023, the spring Mario Kart esports team led the state in points accrued throughout the regular season to punch its second ticket to the state tour- nament in as many years. The crew eventually reached the three-team state championship match and finished third in the big-school division. Two seasons as a program.

Two trips to the state tourna- ment. A lofty state tournament finish. All of it not only puts a smile on the face of coach Troy Staudt, but it has him excited for the future of his program. “Mario Kart was the first thing we started two years ago (with esports) and we didn’t have any clue what to expect, but we’ve performed really well,” Staudt said. “Even this year, it’s just been kind of a feeling of filling in the gaps, the next people up

type of thing.” Nevada has won the past two big-school state titles and will be a contender again this spring. Gilbert felt it had a shot to knock off the Cubs at state a season ago, even though the two teams never faced one another during the regular sea- son despite the close proximity. Staudt says the Tigers learned plenty from their near- miss a season ago. That experi-

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