After an intense year of competition, four amazing high schools battled their way to the grand finals of the Highschool Star League’s 2013-2014 split. On June 28th, Cerritos High School, Crescenta Valley High School, Mission San Jose High School, and Reseda High School made their way to the fabulous Grand Del Mar Hotel & Resort in San Diego, California for a climactic showdown between the four top schools in HSL’s League of Legends division. To prepare for the grand finals, the HSL RV arrived in style to the venue three days early, stuffed with staff, spirit, a trunkload of production equipment, and a landslide of giveaways. Over the next two days, the HSL production team worked from dusk until dawn to set up an amazing stream for the Twitch.tv masses.

On Saturday morning, the Grand Ballroom was flooded with spectators and fans from across the state, looking forward to a weekend of exciting matches and the best high school gaming talent in North America. In between games, players and supporters alike were enticed by an eye-catching table of Razer products, LootCrate boxes, T-shirts, and more, prepped and ready to be given away. The atmosphere of the room quickly grew from cold to hot as more and more people filed in, and by late afternoon, the crowd’s intensity kicked into high gear as the games began.

Fueled by the roaring excitement of the crowd, the high school teams duked it out on Summoner’s Rift all afternoon to the audience’s cheers and groans. As the matches intensified and two hours zoomed by, Mission San Jose High School and Reseda High School were knocked into the 3rd and 4th place bracket as Cerritos and Crescenta Valley High School advanced on to the grand finals.

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After over 10 months and 600 teams of intense matches, the two high school finalists, Cerritos High School and Crescenta Valley High School, found themselves head-to-head for the prized first place share of the $15,000 League of Legends scholarship pool and the title of the champions of the Highschool Star League.

On the final day, an epic best of five match awaited Cerritos and Crescenta. After an incredible 3-0 set, Cerritos took home the gold trophy and the title of “HSL Season 1 League of Legends Champions,” ending the season with an undefeated 18-0 winning streak. True to their promise, the Cerritos team stood before the crowd as the undisputed champions of high school League of Legends.

Game 1:

During the picks and bans, YahooDotCom, the star mid lane of Cerritos High School, found himself cleverly target-banned by Crescenta Valley. Crescenta also opted for Jarvan IV in the middle lane and Lee Sin for the jungle. These two powerful assassins are there to give Crescenta Valley the tools to potentially focus YahooDotCom down. Despite the heavy opposition, YahooDotCom played well in lane, both keeping a consistent 20 minions ahead of Jarvan throughout the game and somehow ending the game with zero deaths.

YahooDotCom has a close call against Crescenta Valley's jungler, LuluMyNunu

YahooDotCom has a close call against Crescenta Valley’s jungler, LuluMyNunu

Cerritos High controlled the first game with a skillful display of lane dominance, ending the match in 20 minutes with a score of 26-9. Now only two games away from the championship title, Cerritos was looking undefeatable.

Game 2:

Cerritos High School vs. Crescenta Valley High School

After their flawless 20-minute victory, Cerritos jungler Dkrupt revealed to us in an interview that Cerritos was going to “make things interesting” in the next game. After a very unexpected pick and ban phase, featuring some very unusual champions on both sides, the crowd was ready for an exciting game.

Rolling out of the fountain with a Gragas top, Karthus jungle, and the amazing Quinn on marksman, Cerritos was clearly brimming with confidence. With their roster of unorthodox picks, the new Cerritos line-up was looking to defeat Crescenta Valley and defeat the meta.

Four minutes into the second game, Cerritos High School’s Newera secured the first two kills of the game with a flawless 1v2 re-engage on a trade that left his support, Mufasa, near death. This powerful play set the tone for the rest of the match.

Newera flashes a wall and comes out with three more kills

Newera flashes a wall and comes out with three more kills

The rest of the early and middle game went extremely well for Cerritos High School. With his 2-0 early lead, Newera’s aggressive Quinn continued to stack up on kills, reaching 10 kills in only 19 minutes. Despite Cerritos High School’s early lead, breaking into the Nexus at 30 minutes, Crescenta managed to pull of a very impressive defensive display, holding on to their base for several tense teamfights. After a grueling lategame battle, Cerritos ended the game with some very impressive scores, and some very interesting itemization choices. True to their promise, the second game was an exceptionally fun match to watch.

Game 3 (feat. Guest Caster, Crs. Xpecial):

Cerritos High School vs. Crescenta Valley High School

Now reaching the final stretch of their 3-month battle for glory, both Cerritos and Crescenta entered the pick and ban phase with nothing but victory on their minds. Crescenta Valley opted for a very aggressive early game, sending Draven and Annie to the bottom lane.

Dkrupt Smites a minion to line up a Cocoon to stun Orianna.

Dkrupt Smites a minion to line up a Cocoon to stun Orianna.

A YouTube-worthy cocoon in the middle lane set up Cerritos jungler Dkrupt for an early double kill, earning Cerritos an incredible 15-minute ace. With 5 kills under his belt as a jungler, Dkrupt’s map presence was instrumental to Cerritos High School’s early dominance. Pressing their lead hard and leaving no room for mistakes, Cerritos High School closed out the match in 25 minutes, ending their series 3-0, a flawless victory.

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Through hard work, dedication, and an abundance of individual talent, Cerritos High School managed an incredible undefeated record in the High School Starleague 2013-2014 season. As the 5-man all-star high school threw their headsets down in celebration, Cerritos High School became the first international high school League of Legends champions, earning a round of cheers and applause from the audience and a permanent place in the Highschool Star League hall of fame. Congratulations!

Written by Cathy Pham and Brian Truong.