Hartland Eagles Soar at First MEC x SMC Fiber Cup

Published on Friday, January 5, 2024 in Community

Fifteen teams gathered with their friends and family members at Southwestern Michigan College for a Rocket League video game showdown.

Hartland Eagles teammates
Left to right: Kyle Greig, Lincoln Deman, Christian Gatien

The first-ever MEC x SMC Fiber Cup began at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 21. After nearly four hours, three teams had emerged victorious: the Dowagiac Chieftains in third, Toasted Mayo in second, and the Hartland Eagles in first. The Chieftains and Toasted Mayo players won gift cards, and the Eagles got championship belts and new Xbox Series X consoles. The three teams also secured donations to their school or charity of choice.

The Hartland High School Eagles were our farthest-traveling team, joining us all the way from Hartland, Michigan. They’re also a brand-new team, with 2023 being their first year as an official school club. We chatted with Eagles Coach Cameron Montney about the Fiber Cup, esports, and what’s next for the team.

Hartland Eagles coach
Hartland Eagles Coach Cameron Montney

Q: What made you decide to enter the Fiber Cup?

A: With this being our first year as a club, I knew that our students had never played in front of a live audience before, and I didn’t want their first time to be at the state championship. So when I found the Fiber Cup when doing some late-night Googling, I knew that this would be the perfect opportunity for the kids.

Q: Has winning the tournament opened up any new opportunities or discussions for the team?

A: I would say it definitely has, and combined with our continued success within our league, has led to many positive conversations with school administration regarding the growth of our program. We have also been contacted by a few college coaches who are starting up programs and are interested in coming to talk to our team about their schools.

Q: What’s next for you all?

A: After further conversations with our school administration and the growing popularity of our program, we have decided to add a few more game titles to our repertoire for the Spring 2024 season. Along with Rocket League and Super Smash Bros., we have plans to add Overwatch 2, Splatoon 3, and Madden 24.

Eagles playing
An Eagles teammate in the middle of a game.

Q: Why is esports an important program for schools to offer their students?

A: As a high school varsity esports coach, integrating esports into our school’s offerings has proven indispensable. Beyond gaming, it cultivates essential skills, fostering teamwork, communication, and adaptability. This holistic skill development enhances academic performance and prepares students for a rapidly evolving job market.

Esports engages students who might not be drawn to traditional sports, serving as a powerful motivator and enhancing the overall school experience. Moreover, according to the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals, “45% of students involved in esports haven’t participated in any other school sport or activity.” The most rewarding part about starting an esports team in Hartland has been hearing a group of kids tell me how excited they are to, as they say, “finally be a part of something” in their school.

This isn’t the end! The next MEC x SMC Fiber Cup will be this fall. Watch our site for more info.