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Gamer having a ball

Elsian Atienze, a sixth-grader at Hillcrest Elementary School in Oak Harbor, holds a big Pokeball while giving a thumbs up. He won a regional Pokemon tournament last month and will compete in a national tournament next month.   - Nathan Whalen / Whidbey News-Times
Elsian Atienze, a sixth-grader at Hillcrest Elementary School in Oak Harbor, holds a big Pokeball while giving a thumbs up. He won a regional Pokemon tournament last month and will compete in a national tournament next month.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen / Whidbey News-Times

Hillcrest Elementary School sixth-grader Elsian Atienze brought his team of six Pokémon to Vancouver, B.C., last month and won a regional tournament.

The Oak Harbor video gamer earned the title “Pokemon Regional Champion” after competing in a two-day tournament.

Atienze was among thousands of youths from across North America participating in regional competitions to vie over who would get a spot at the national championships.

He has a team of six Pokémon he uses when competing — Garchomp, Rotom, Metagross, Hitmontop, Latios, and Escavalier.

Pokémon has been a family tradition for the Atienze family. Three of his siblings have competed, and continue to compete, in video-game tournaments.

“My brother showed me it and I thought it was fun, so I kept on going,” Atienze said.

Atienze is one of five junior regional champions from North America to earn a spot at the national championship, which takes place early July in Indianapolis.

Atienze said he plays every chance he gets on the weekends. He’s not allowed to play on school nights. When he is not playing video games or going to school, he is busy with athletics. He plays basketball and will also compete in the North Whidbey League where he plays pitcher, catcher and first-base.

Atienze is getting a chance to compete in the world championships. He is ranked second in the global Pokémon rankings which is a high enough spot to earn a place in the world tournament, Atienze’s brother, Casiano, noted.

That tournament takes place August in Vancouver, B.C.

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