Christian Romansik’s is so impressive as a member of Sierra High School’s esports team that players — and occasionally the teachers — call him Coach Romansik. And he’s still a student.
With the help of teammates Devon Smith and Robert Kuhns, Romansik helped create the esports team at Sierra and has turned it into a successful program.
Sierra’s Smite team finished 16-1 and earned the regional championship April 29 after defeating Wyoming’s Upton High School 2-0 at the regional championships.
“Without him being persistent, we don’t win a regional championship,” said Sierra esports coach James Disney. “I don’t know how we would have gotten started or how we’d grow without him. We started with three kids and that’s all good and dandy, but you can’t do a whole lot with just three kids.”
Romansik shined as a player in Rocket League and dabbled in the video game Smite, but he also guided coaches on the set up of equipment and assisted gamers when necessary.
“You can see it day in and day out how much Christian cares about this,” Disney said. “Being able to coach up all of us and help where needed has been crucial to the success of this program.”
The Express sat down with Romansik to talk about gaming and the esports program.
So how did you and your friends help start the esports program at Sierra?
Myself, Devon Smith and Robert Kuhns were thinking what we could add to the school. The school had its typical sports, but we saw a bunch of stuff online in ads or just on social media where most high schools had esports teams. We thought we could ask for an esports team and we went to (Bob) Bentley (Sierra’s athletic director) to see if we had a chance to get an esports team and he said yeah. It took a while because of COVID, but eventually the team sprang into action. We decided to recruit a lot of people and now we have a lot of teams playing for Sierra High School esports.
You realize you three helped Sierra make history?
Yeah, that’s so awesome — especially since we won the regional championship in the first year of the program.
How does it feel knowing you and your friends played such a vital role in that?
That makes me feel very accomplished and excited. At a banquet we had (May 18), Disney shouted out me, Devon Smith and Robert Kuhns. It felt nice that he brought attention to our names.
How did you get into gaming?
I started because of my grandparents. They used to have a PlayStation 3 and my grandmother used to have a (Nintendo) DS. I’d play games like the Legend of Zelda and Call of Duty, and I decided to find friends who had similar interests and started playing with them. From then on, I’ve played video games a lot.
That’s amazing! I wouldn’t expect that story for grandparents. Are your grandparents typical age?
Yeah, they’re in their 60s. I have really cool grandparents.
What are some of your first memories as a gamer?
When my grandmother was showing me the Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. We’d play that all the time, and she’d beat the bosses and I’d look in amazement because I didn’t know my grandparents were good at playing video games.
How grateful are you that they provided you with those gaming platforms?
I’m very grateful because it opened an avenue of entertainment that a lot of people nowadays don’t really look at. It also provided another way to talk to friends and socialize more with people.
How beneficial is that last part? How important is it that you’ve had gaming as a way to connect with others?
It’s really good. I’m hard to talk to at first because I’m an introvert, but once I get to know someone and talk to them, I’m very outgoing. I also enjoy talking to people including those who I compete against.
Is there a YouTuber or Twitch streamer you admire or mirror yourself after?
Oh yeah, absolutely. One of them is named Ninja and he was very famous last year and the year before when Fortnite began. It was cool to see someone like him play games he liked and watch him compete around the globe.
Is gaming something you hope to mold into a career in the future?
If esports goes on as planned next year, I’ve looked at colleges that have esports teams. I’m hoping to enroll in a college that has the major I want (technical engineering) and an esports team that’s doing well. I want to have as much fun as possible — but I also want to be one of the greatest players and do so professionally.