National Esports High School Player Awards 2020-2021

June 9, 2021

Jared Nicholas of Gretna High School, Gretna, NE, has been named the high school NAECAD Player of the Year for 2020-21. In addition to Jared, the following players earned NAECAD All-American status: Owen Brinkman of Mariemont High School, Cincinnati, OH; Samuel Curtis of Guilford High School, Guilford, CT; Ben Grady of Fox Valley Lutheran High School, Appleton, WI; Peter Heroux of Saint John’s Preparatory School, Collegeville, MN; and Jonathan Trameri of Edgewood High School, Madison, WI, the NAECAD national office announced Tuesday.

High School Player of the Year - Jared Nicholas, Gretna High School, NE

Jared Nicholas is a senior at Gretna High School, Gretna, NE, and is the Overwatch Team Captain. He has impeccable focus, determination, and a very friendly outgoing demeanor. Jared is involved in a lot of activities both at the school and in the community. He wakes up at 4:30 a.m. every morning to work out, participates in the esports program and on the track team. After school he works at Goodwill, maintains excellent grades and still manages to spend time with his friends. Jared plans to go to college and to major in business management. It is his hope and dream to go to make a difference in the world and help people. His nominator had this to say about Jared, “It takes a very dedicated, very organized person to keep a schedule like his while also doing a good job in school. Jared is quick to help others and instantly befriends anyone and everyone around him. He has made a huge difference in our esports program. His enthusiasm for helping others and making them feel welcome has greatly benefited our program. Jared is not just a member of our top Overwatch team, he is the Captain. When it came to decisions, this was the easiest decision I made this year. Jared is the perfect captain. He is just the kind of person we need to lead our team. Jared does not demand from his teammates, he leads by example. He practices outside of the team practice sessions, he researches strategies and patch updates, listens to his teammates, welcomes their opinions and ideas, strategizes for upcoming matches, plans his teammates practices/scrims, etc. He is very well respected by the other students on his team as well as students on the other teams.”

These coveted awards recognize individuals for a balance of athletic achievement, sportsmanship and citizenship. While elite performance in the game is important, these awards are aimed at recognizing the overall impact the individual has made. Example characteristics include: 

Jared and the other All-Americans will be receiving their awards from NAECAD and will be recognized at the next NAECAD National Convention. 

The National Association of Esports Coaches and Directors (NAECAD – pronounced Nay-cad), founded in 2019, is the primary professional organization for competitive esports coaches and directors at all levels of competitive play (club, high school, college, and professional). NAECAD strives to serve, legitimize, and advance competitive esports at all levels with NAECAD members at the epicenter of leadership, advocacy, and professional development. NAECAD’s vision is for esports to be viewed as a prominent competitive sport with highly trained NAECAD members leading the professional development, growth, and quality of competitive esports. Visit to learn more about NAECAD.

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