Students make the right moves at chess tourney
By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN
Hays was well represented at the Kansas Scholastic Chess Association Tournament on Saturday in Wichita.
Two individuals placed in the top 10 of their divisions, and Thomas More Prep-Marian High School was the Class 3A runner-up for the second consecutive year.
TMP junior Jacob Brull scored five points out of a possible six to place sixth individually among 147 individuals competing in the high school division. That performance, coupled with the 26th-place finish by freshman Patrick Kepka's four-point effort, led the Monarchs to a 15.5-point total and sixth overall among the 26 high school teams in all classifications.
Erie, which was third overall in team scoring, won the 3A title with 16.5 points. Two Class 6A schools from the same city, Lawrence Free State and Lawrence High, were the top two teams overall with 19.5 and 18 points, respectively.
Also individually for Hays, Sheena Zeng, a fourth-grader at O'Loughlin Elementary School, placed 15th in the kindergarten through fifth-grade division with four points, which was the seventh-best finish for fourth-graders.
Also scoring for TMP were freshman Peak Navanimitkul with 3.5 points and junior Ryan Hammerschmidt with three.
With his four points scored Saturday, Kepka finished as the top scorer for the Monarchs with 29 points while participating in all eight tournaments. TMP senior Bill Wiebe was the only other Monarch who participated in all eight tourneys this season and finished second to Kepka with 26.5 total points, closing out his prep career with a three-point effort at state.
Brull finished with the highest average (4.8) with 24 points in five tourneys. He scored four points in every meet in which he participated, including an impressive 5.5-point total the weekend before state that earned him the individual title at the Hillsboro Tournament. That helped TMP tie Class 5A Valley Center for top team scoring, but the Monarchs lost out by five-tenths of a point in the tiebreaker. Nonetheless, they still finished no lower than third place all season, with five team titles, two seconds and a third.