By Nichole Smith
Iain Plank, Class of 2023 alum, has returned to campus to volunteer his time with EA Sports Gaming at MVA. While a student at MVA, he was a member of the Academic Team for three years and was a part of the Florida Quiz Bowl Association league that qualified for the state competition at the University of Florida. At the beginning of the second semester of his senior year, he joined the inaugural EA Sports Gaming at MVA team and was immediately appointed captain.
Under the direction of Mr. Oshae Hicks, MVA’s EA Sports Academy Coordinator, Iain helped lead his team to two national tournament finals at the end of the school year. “Iain is by far the best person to ever help you in a time of need,” said Mr. Hicks. “He has lifted a lot of weight off my shoulders, and just having his increased knowledge of esports is extremely beneficial.”
Four students from last year’s team of six graduated, one of whom returned home to Thailand and will be trying out for a national team. Another student, Kyler Thomas, is the only student remaining at MVA from last year’s team. Iain owes the success of last year’s team to MVA’s infrastructure. “We have a set coach, we have PC’s, we have dedicated practice time,” said Iain, “and we really lucked out with the amount of talent we had that first year.”
This year’s team has 10 students. Kyler is the new team captain, and Iain has been volunteering to help the team every school day this semester before moving on to the University of South Florida in the spring. He spends his time at MVA teaching the new team the fundamentals of the video game Overwatch. “By the time I leave, I want to be able to see that I really made a difference here,” said Iain. “These guys are a lot more synergized. They’re a lot more confident. So I’m excited to see them improve.”