Chess club ranks 39 of 140 teams at state tourney

PEORIA – The Sterling High School chess team placed 39th out of 140 teams at this year’s state tournament, held Friday and Saturday at the Peoria Civic Center.

This is the second year in a row the team has won four of the seven matches and finished in the 30s.

Sterling beat Bradley Bourbonnais, Brother Rice, Downer’s Grove South, and West Chicago, coach Joel Penne said in an email.

Two of the team’s losses came at the hands of Aurora schools, Neuqua Valley and Waubonsie Valley. Both Aurora teams finished in the top 15 in the state.

In the last round, Sterling lost a close match to Peoria Richwoods, 36-32, Penne said.

Junior Dylan Kenney at first board had the best individual performance, winning five of his seven matches. He finished 35th out of 140 competitors on his board.

Juniors Nick Byington and David Martinez and sophomore Tyler Swanson won four of their matches, while senior Colton Donahue won three and a half, and juniors Tyler Tichler and Tyler Austin both won three. Senior Chase Pipes and junior Jacob Kyritz-Dennis both won two and a half.

Next season, Sterling comes back strong, only having to replace two of the top eight boards, Donahue and Pipes. The team’s goals will be to defend their conference championship and place in the top 25 at state, Penne said.

“Thank you to the administration at Sterling High school, the academic boosters, and everyone who has supported our team,” he said.

Go to for a complete report on the tournament results.