Originally published in The Weekly Packet, May 1, 2014
BHCS chess team wins trophy at national championship
The Blue Hill Consolidated School, Maine chess team, placed a trophy-winning 18th out of 56 teams at the National Junior High Scholastic Chess Championships in Atlanta, Ga. on April 25-27, 2014. Front row from left, Ross Stewart, Cole Stewart, Evan Chapman, Kai Diel; back row, Cameron Stewart, Kara Morrison, Grayson Eaton, Alec Cole, Aidan Stearns, Parker Allen, Sam Parrott, and Coach Cameron Wendell.
Blue Hill Consolidated School’s Chess Team came home victorious at the National Junior High Scholastic Chess Championships held April 25-27 in Atlanta, Ga., according to a news release from the school. The first-year team took home the 18th place trophy, with 56 teams competing from across the country, in the K-8 Under 750 Division. BHCS formed the team in November 2013, and on March 8, the team became the Maine State Scholastic Chess Champions in the K-6 Championship Division.
The 11-member team endured seven rounds at Nationals, each lasting up to four hours, over a three-day tournament. Sixth graders led the way, with Sam Parrott garnering 4.5 points and Parker Allen and Cameron Stewart each with 4 points. Fifth grader Evan Chapman and sixth grader Grayson Eaton each had 3.5 points. Eighth graders Alec Cole and Kara Morrison had 3 points each, as well as sixth grader Aidan Stearns and fifth graders Cole Stewart and Ross Stewart. Fifth grader Kai Diel boosted the team with an additional 2 points. The strong team-effort ensured the 18th place award.
Coach Cameron Wendell led the team to victory, with intense preparation before the tournament and diligent review with each player after every round at Nationals. Coach Wendell is a high school student at Blue Hill’s Harbor School and former national chess champion. Maryanne Lewandowski (“Mrs. Lew”), faculty advisor and BHCS sixth grade teacher, was instrumental in the team formation and organization and chaperoned the BHCS students traveling to and from Atlanta and while at the tournament. A total group of 19 students and adults traveled to the event from Blue Hill.
“I am overwhelmingly proud of the team and all of their hard work,” said Coach Wendell. “Going from barely knowing how to move the pieces to placing at the national championship is unbelievable. I can hardly imagine what such an amazing group of students could accomplish in the upcoming school year.”
“The students faced the challenges of national-level competition with courage and poise,” said Lewandowski. “They each enjoyed success and learned from their mistakes. They also experienced the sights and sounds of Atlanta, including a ride in the SkyView Ferris wheel and visits to Coca-Cola World and the Georgia Aquarium.”