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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.”
The eSports Rocket League, Counter-Strike, Fortnite, and Overwatch teams are directed by Mike Rosenberg and the Super Smash Bros. team is led by Pasquale Cioffi.
eSports Coach, Audio/Visual and Tech Support Specialist
Business Phone: (718) 836-9800 ext. 6381
Education: SUNY Polytechnic Institute, BS
Michael Rosenberg, was born in Queens, New York and has been a gamer since childhood. From an early age, playing games on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Game Boy, and the original Playstation video games have influenced his life. Exploring how video games were made led Michael to learn programming, later attending SUNY Polytechnic Institute (formerly known as SUNYIT). After receiving a BS in Computer & Information Technology, in 2015 Michael joined Poly’s technology team as an Audio/Visual and Tech Support Specialist. Michael helped grow Poly’s tech program teaching Game Design and Programming. With a passion for gaming, in 2019 Michael started a pilot program for a multiplayer Counter-Strike eSports team and plans to build and expand the program.
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.”