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Program Overview

The 2019-20 academic year was Poly’s inaugural eSports team year. Poly participated in the High School eSports League (HSEL). The HSEL has more than 3,000 schools and over 80,000 students competing each year around the country and in parts of Canada. The set of games supported by the league each year varies. Poly’s teams for these popular competitive game series have included Rocket League, Fortnite, Overwatch, Counter-Strike, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The teams and gaming strategies are headed by technology faculty members Michael Rosenberg and Pasquale Cioffi.

HSEL’s mission is “to make eSports available to every student as a legitimate varsity level sport in high schools across the nation. We achieve this by making it easy for faculty to offer students an opportunity to engage in healthy eSports competition surrounded by peers, and supervised by teachers. Through organized eSports competition, students will tie their commitment to gaming to their success in academics and future careers.”

  • Rocket League team came in 1st place for the 2020-2021 HSEL Fall Majors
    (Joel Lovell ’22, Mick Snider Joel Lovell ’22, and Andrey Bakulev ’24)
  • In 2020, their debut year, Poly Prep’s Rocket League team competed in the HSEL finals.
eSports Coach

The eSports teams competed in the following games for the 2020-21 season: Rocket League, Counter-Strike, Fortnite, Rainbow Six, Valorant, Call of Duty, and Super Smash Bros.

Pasquale Cioffi

Pasquale Cioffi

eSports Coach, Network and Systems Manager

Business Phone: (718) 836-9800 ext. 6280
Education: Farmingdale State College, BS

Pasquale Cioffi joined the Poly Prep faculty in 2010 after earning a BS in Computer Science that year. A fan of the early 2000s competitive Capcom fighting game scene, Pasquale and his younger brother purchased their first video game system together, the Nintendo Gamecube, and the Super Smash Bros. Melee video game for that system. Unknowingly purchasing a “fun multiplayer party game,” he came to realize that the game is quite competitive and technical, an idea which was further exemplified by observing professional gamers of this series playing at grand final tournaments.

When presented with the opportunity to coach Poly students who were interested in the game’s latest iteration, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, for Poly’s eSports team, Pasquale’s answer was clear: yes. In his coaching debut, Pasquale considered what a tournament player would do to practice and developed a coaching strategy that was personalized for each player’s character and gameplay style. It also included foundational understanding of the game itself along with rules/regulations of what’s expected on a tournament stage for Super Smash Bros. As an eSport coach, Pasquale created a structured practice etiquette, logging results, understanding and analyzing player strengths and weaknesses, facilitating competitive gaming habits outside of weekly team meetings, and making sure students prioritize their schoolwork and their social lives over gaming duties, and that they practice good sportsmanship and foster new friendships along the way. In reflecting on the inaugural season, Pasquale said, “This is something everyone in the educational field strives for and hopes for their students to be able to eventually learn to develop on their own—being self-aware in an objective light, and making the necessary changes and doing the work or to further their true potential throughout their lifetime; while still being able to showcase their talents in a humble manner. Developing a roadmap of how to better prepare for different match scenarios, and seeing the students’ talents and skills progress from where they started until the end of the season, was a truly novel and rewarding experience.”

Featured Athletes

Joel Lovell ‘22

Joel is a seasoned player of Rocket League and he was a large part of the team’s offense and difficult defensive moves.

Lyons "Mick" Snider '22

“I have played Rocket League for years to get to where I am today, and I know that is also true for my teammates. If you want to be the best, you have to put in many hours and have good teamwork and communication.”

Andrey Bakulev ’24

"I really enjoy rocket league because it has infinite possibilities for outplays and skills. The 'skill ceiling' is very high, so new mechanics are made every day."