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Past and current players in the Kamehameha Schools Maui esports lab with their Hawaii High School Athletic Association State trophies. From front left to right, Jayce Chang KSM’26, Noa Fong KSM’26, Teiva Gerling KSM’26, Brennan Tanaka KSM’26, Vann Siphers KSM’26, (Top left to right), Errol Sheehan KSM’25, (Alumni) Elijah Auweloa KSM’22, Coach Brenton Kimoto, Coach Isaiah Auweloa KSM’22, and Kobey Kintaro KSM’23.

Kamehameha Schools Maui esports team rockets to success with six state championships in Rocket League

USA Today has Maui team ranked 4th in the nation

May 1, 2023

When the Kamehameha Schools Maui esports team won the first State Championship title in 2019, Team Captain Isaiah Auweloa KSM'22, “Kahktus” is his gamer name, described it as a surreal experience.

"It was the first season of high school esports; all the players were at their best that day, everyone warming up and focused for the final game. On our side of the room was our team and the opponents shouting call-outs and strategizing, and on the other were our parents, coaches, and everyone else watching us from the big screen. I just remember being so stoked to win that final game; everyone was out of their seats as soon as the ball hit the ground. We all got up and started celebrating, being the first-ever Rocket League esports champions for the State of Hawai'i," Auweloa said.

Participating in esports has allowed KS Maui haumāna to represent their school in a competitive environment. Students learn problem-solving and strategy, teamwork, communication, and leadership skills and develop an interest in STEM subjects. The team also encourages students to maintain good grades to participate. Finding that balance is vital.

The Kamehameha Schools Maui esports team has taken the high school competitive gaming scene by storm with its incredible track record of success. The team has been dominating the competition with six state championships in Rocket League, but their latest season was a different story. After last year's winning team graduated, the esports team found themselves rebuilding with freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. With a challenging year of development and practice under their belts, the team is more determined than ever to bring home another victory.

Despite being unable to clinch a seventh state championship this year, the KS Maui esports team is excited about the upcoming season. The new team and Head Coach Brenton Kimoto are ready to rebuild and make another run for the championship next year.

The KS Maui esports team started in the fall of 2019 with just over 20 students signing up. Because of its popularity, the number of students participating in the program fluctuates between 12 to 20 each season. The age range for the team spans from first-year high school students to seniors.

The Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) recognizes fall and spring seasons on the PlayVS platform. PlayVS is one of the largest esports leagues for schools around the country. The spring season is from January to April, while the fall is from September to December. The season begins with a few weeks of preseason matches that don't count but get haumāna familiar with the process. After the regular season, if a team ranks high enough, they will be in playoffs, a single elimination bracket tournament. The winner is crowned HHSAA Esports Champs and earns a berth into the PlayVS Cup, a national summer tournament with other state champs.

The KS Maui esports team has won six state championships in Rocket League with nearly unbeaten regular season records. "The team's success is due to the student's dedication and hard work. Each student puts in many hours of training and practice to get to a very high level in the games," KS Maui Head Coach Brenton Kimoto said.

KS Maui team captain of the Rocket League team, Errol Sheehan, attributes his team's success to understanding his teammates' playstyle and mastering the small aspects of the game.

Esports has become an essential part of high school athletics, providing opportunities for students to learn, compete, and represent their school. The KS Maui esports team is ready to rebuild and make another run for the championship next year. The program continues to grow in popularity, and with dedicated coaches and students, the KS Maui esports team will continue its success.

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