By Braedon Martin / Staff Writer

This year is the first year Hutchinson Community College has had a “Rainbow Six: Siege” team, as part of their Esports program, which was launched during the 2020-2021 school year.

Heading that team is team captain Hayley Berry. Growing up in Pretty Prairie, Hayley started out her interest in video games on Playstation 2. Her favorite games for PS2 were “Call of Duty 2: The Big Red One”, or the recently remastered “SpongeBob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom”.

Heath Hensley, HutchCC’s Esports coach, said that Hayley’s role as captain has pushed her outside her comfort zone.

“She was very soft spoken and is now one of our most vocal athletes,” Hensley said.

Though it is their first semester competing with a Siege team, Hensley has reported a dedication and fire in the team he believes that Berry has helped to light.

Another part of this is the support they receive from the other teams.

“Quite a few of the “Overwatch” players will either help us with strategies or just support us, and same with the “Rocket League” or “Call of Duty” players.” Berry said.

As captain, Berry has to look more into the strategies for the game, and help out members of her team if they’re not having a good game or match. While the “Siege” community can be well known for its toxicity in casual play, Berry said, the Esports “Siege” community is a lot more supportive of those who participate, and has a high level of sportsmanship between teams.

In order to practice, the “Siege” team plays unranked matches, because they simulate the competitive ruleset.

During the preseason, Berry was excited to compete in order to learn what the team needed to work on, as the player base for the unranked matches ranges from pros, to semi-skilled players with random teammates, to people who have no idea what is going on.

The “Siege” team’s first match was on Tuesday against Gogebic Community College, which the Blue Dragons lost 2-1. Further matches will be livestreamed on the HutchCC twitch account, on Tuesdays at 6pm.

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