Pal-Mac Esports team continues to 'level up'

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MAY 31, 2022— Big things are happening with the Pal-Mac Electronic Sports (Esports) team as it continues to expand its reach, and its trophy case.


We took a trip down the basement stairs at the Pal-Mac High School to catch up with the team, and take an inside look at how the program has come along since it first started up back in 2019.

Using student- built computer "rigs," Pal-Mac competes in a league formed by "Play VS," an organization which holds the gaming rights to the game "League of Legends" at the state level. The team also uses Play VS to compete in the game "Rocket League."


"We compete against a number of students across the state, as well as across the eastern portion of the U.S. from Maine all the way down to Florida and everywhere in between," said Head Coach and Teacher, Jeff Cheramie.


We know what you may be thinking: It's just students playing video games. Well, there's a lot more to it. 


For starters, Esports is a multi- billion dollar business that attracts millions of viewers across the globe. International and national competitions can pay out substantial purses, with the highest reaching at about $47 million.


At Pal-Mac the team competes in two seasons: Fall and Spring.Both seasons have a preseason that will last a few weeks, then the team moves into the regular season. This is where the real competition begins.  Throughout the season, the players keep track of the Win/Loss Percentages. Based upon the number of teams that have entered the competitive matchmaking, a certain number of top tier teams will be invited to the playoffs. 


Winning competitions can net a team $500-$2500 in scholarships.


Typically, Cheramie says the group tends to meet Monday-Friday during competition, but depending upon what team you are on you will not meet everyday. Rocket League tends to meet on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. League of Legends tends to meet on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Competition for Rocket League is every Thursday and League of Legends is typically on Tuesday. Matches start at 4:00 pm.


"It's like an actual Esports team," Jesse Casciani, a freshman, said. "We have to communicate and all that, and practice almost every day."


And just like any "traditional sport," the emotions felt by the players can are just as real.


"When you're playing with each other, you can really see each other's reactions and expressions during the game," senior Joey Pompeii said. "Especially when you win a championship or a game, you can really see how your teammates react."


So, has that hard work paid off? You bet.


Since 2019, the team has taken home two New York State championships (2020, 2021) , and finished as a recent runner up in a national tournament (2022) , though that's not all the team has accomplished. Gameplay has been expanded to include another game (NBA 2K) Additionally, the team  launched its  "Shoutcasting" component. Shoutcasting is a kind of  "play-by-play" for gaming.



"It feels achieving when you actually win something with all of your time and dedication and you get something out of it," senior Andrew Gellatly said.


Besides taking home a trophy and bragging rights, being a part of the team comes with some other benefits, too. As mentioned, the team can win scholarship money, but also gain some collegiate attention. According to Cheramie, since 2019, the team has won $6300 in Scholarships. As for college recognition, both Gellatly and Pompeii say their success led to offers from schools like Finger Lakes Community College, which both students will be attending in the fall.


"I highly recommend it, just because it's a good way to just be yourself around your friends," Pompeii said.


It's a sentiment shared by Cheramie:


"You will meet friends that you have never met before, and you will be a part of a group of students that enjoy playing many different games. You will also be competing in a non-toxic environment where your skills can grow and improve while you level up because you are learning how to communicate, learn a new skill set, and achieve the goals that your team has set for the group."


And those communication skills can come in handy, well beyond the competition.


"It's cool because you can build real world skills like leadership and teamwork skills," sophomore Landon Napora said.


As you can see, the team, and its operations have grown substantially in just three years, and Cheramie says there's more growth on the way. The program is planning to start working with students at the Middle School level, it's also looking to add students who are interested in being part of the shoutcasts. The hope is to add some digital designers, as well.


"Bring a friend," Gellatly said.


For any questions regarding the Esports team, please contact Jeff Cheramie at






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