Local student wins national Esports award at exclusive international esports eventOct 01, 2022 06:43PM ● By Annabelle Larsen
By Annabelle Larsen | [email protected]
The rise of esports has been incredible the past few years, and one that seems to have no end to the growth in sight. Esports, short for electronic sports, is a competition involving video games. Esports often takes the form of multiplayer games that teams of video game players play competitively against other teams, often for cash prizes.
One local Herriman resident, Trakker Danjanovich, a student at Mountain Ridge High School, was chosen to participate in the inaugural Esports Tower Summer Invitational.
The Esports Tower Summer Invitational is an elite bootcamp style training and development event hosted in July. They selected 56 out of 10,000 high potential teen players to attend an all-expense paid event held at the Boise State University Esports Arena. Top teams and select players can also score go-anywhere study-anything scholarship prizes. In 2021 players earned $1.7 million in scholarships, and it seems like 2022 rewards will match and possibly exceed the 2021 rewards.
A very select group was asked to attend, and Trakker Danjanovich was one of the few to be selected for this event.
Danjanovich specializes in the game Valorant, a team-based first-person hero shooter style game set in the near future. Players play as one of a team of Agents, characters based on several countries and/or cultures around the world. In the main game mode, players are assigned to either the attacking or defending team, with each team having five players on it. His position is flex, meaning that he has one of the more complicated roles in the game Valorant. He has the capability to swap from character to character and still execute specific strategies. As a flex, one person has to be able to play multiple different agents almost perfectly. The team depends on this player to be able to adapt to certain situations at high speeds and assess situations carefully and quickly. Definitely a position and skill that takes time, practice and talent to perfect.
The Invitational involved personal training from ten University Esports Directors from institutions across the USA. The training focused around the Esports Tower curriculum, designed to improve the emotional intelligence of esports athletes. Athletes were tested with an intense schedule with nightly tournaments that pushed the players' stamina and game sense. Activities also included daily team building and coaching talks with collegiate Esports Directors that were designed to help broaden the teaming and communication skills of teens in attendance, a mandatory skill for team gaming.
Dr. Chris “Doc” Haskell, associate professor at Boise State University and head coach of the Esports league said, “Parents are often surprised to learn over 420 colleges now offer esports programs and often esports scholarships too. However, most gamers who go it alone at home are ill-prepared for collegiate varsity gameplay. Organizations like Esports Tower help elevate high school gamers by providing the structure and training that helps prepare players just like traditional club-level sports. As we scout for new talent here at Boise State University, we think of Esports Tower as the AAU of esports. They have very focused training that prepares gamers for the next level of gameplay after high school.”
The growth of esports recently has been incredible, and one that there are continually growing outlets and teams for. Trakker Danjanovich has not only been able to attend an elite invitational, but has excelled even amongst the best of the best. Program Director of Esports Tower Tony Baccaro says, “Trakker has set the standard for sportsmanship, strategic thinking and creativity in their gameplay, this selection is a testament to the skill, hard work and grit of this high-potential player.”
Danjanovich shows skill, dedication, and very importantly, an overall love of the esports community and the game itself.
If you would like to follow Danjanovich’s journey, or are interested in esports, check out
ESTV, a live linear television channel dedicated to all things esports.