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Unity Christian Academy wins first place in Elgin Esports tournament

First overall, first in NBA 2K, and first in Super Smash Bros. tell of new program’s success at Unity Christian Academy

By Josh Bootsma

SOUTH HOLLAND, Ill. (March 2, 2022) – The newest team at Unity Christian Academy is already collecting awards in a new category of competition: Esports.

The South Holland high school — now in its fourth year — competed at the Elgin High School Esports Invitational on Saturday, February 26, and took home the overall championship, as well as two first place individual awards.

Esports at Unity Christian Academy

Esports, which refers to “electronic sports” such as multiplayer video games, was recently added as an official spring activity by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA).

Unity Christian Academy’s 10-student team competes in NBA 2K, a basketball game, and Super Smash Bros., a fighting game.

UCA sweeps championship games

The Elgin tournament on Saturday consisted of six teams from the Chicago area, and Unity Christian students won first place in both the NBA 2K and Super Smash Bros. categories.

Senior Caleb Purnell beat his younger brother, freshman Timothy Purnell, in the Super Smash Bros. championship game, while freshman Corey Newman bested freshman teammate Ashton Stevens in the NBA 2K championship game. With wins in both categories, UCA earned the Overall Team Champion plaque as well.

“I am so proud of these students for representing our school so well. It was fun that our team members wound up playing against each other for both championships. It was also very exciting to see our students speaking to college representatives about Esports scholarships and other growing opportunities in higher education,” said UCA Esports coach John Purnell, who is the father of Caleb and Timothy, and Chairman of the UCA Board.

Prior to Saturday, the UCA Esports team notched a sixth place finish at the Illinois High School Esport Association championship tournament. Next week, the team is visiting Illinois Wesleyan University to meet with the school’s Esports team and coach, and learn more about Esports at the college level.

Unity Christian Academy is located at 16341 South Park Avenue, Building 2, in South Holland.


Josh Bootsma
Josh Bootsma
Josh is Managing Editor at The Lansing Journal and believes in the power and purpose of community news. He covers any local topics—from village government to theatre, from business openings to migratory birds.