Esports Week 8: Kenai, Nikiski, Soldotna make playoffs

The regular season for Alaska high school esports came to a close this week, and Kenai Peninsula teams will be competing in the playoffs for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Rocket League and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The playoffs will start as soon as next week, and will in part be played in person in Anchorage.

League of Legends

Kenai Central was swept Tuesday by Lathrop High School and fell to 4-4 and fifth in the league. The Kardinals have spent the last few weeks vying for the final playoff slot for the game with Mat-Su Central School Blue. Mat-Su claimed fourth place in the rankings and eliminated Kenai by sweeping Nenana City School this week.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Kenai Central Team 1, with Cody Good, Kage Adkins and Koen Pace, claimed a victory over second-ranked Chugiak High School on Thursday with a score of 2-1, cementing the Kards’ position at the top of the league going into the playoffs at 7-1.

The Kardinals will be bringing two teams into the playoffs, as Kenai 2’s Blake Gillis, Kaizen Fuller and Eliseo Castro also secured a position in the playoffs despite a 2-1 loss to West Anchorage High School. The Kards enter the playoffs with a 6-2 record and sixth position in the league.

Nikiski, too, will be participating in the playoffs, though the Bulldogs punched their ticket weeks ago with a then nearly perfect game score. This week, Levi Kimbell, Lincoln Kimbell and Taisei Horiyasu scored a 2-1 victory over Anchorage Christian Schools, for a 6-2 record and fourth in the league.

Playoffs start next week, on Friday. Kenai 1 is set to take on the 16th-ranked Valdez High School, Nikiski is matched against 13th-ranked Cyberlynx Correspondence Program and Kenai 2 will play against Delta Junction Senior High School.

Kenai coach Matthew Cross said Friday that starting with the Top 8 matches on April 18, the games will be played in person in the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Esports Lounge.

Rocket League

Soldotna High School swept Cyberlynx Correspondence Program on Thursday and entered the playoffs ranked third in the state with a 6-2 record. April 20, the Stars will play Steller Secondary School for a spot in the finals, scheduled for April 28. The Stars played Steller earlier this season, falling short in a 3-1 game.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Kenai Central was swept by Honolulu’s President William McKinley High School on Thursday, falling to 5-3 and fourth in the Coastal Region. That team boasts a perfect match and game record. The Kards will be one of two teams from Alaska participating in the playoffs, joined by Kodiak High School. They’re set to play the Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science on April 19 for a spot in the semifinals. Kenai and Hawaii Academy tangled three weeks ago, and the Kardinals were swept.

Madden NFL 23

Kenai’s Marcus Wong was swept by Ethan Castaneda, of Bishop Mora Salesian High School in Los Angeles. He falls to 3-5 and 26th in the Pacific Region, and did not qualify for the playoffs.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at