The Joliet Central High School Chess Team qualified to compete in the IHSA State Chess Tournament after finishing fifth in Southwest Prairie Conference and playing a series of matches at the Andrew Chess Sectionals. The State Chess Tournament takes place on Friday, February 11, and Saturday, February 12 at the Peoria Civic Center.
The varsity chess team is coached by Aseneth Ruiz and Rodney Coatney Sr., and the team is led by a group of determined seniors and excited freshman. Team members include Two-year Captain Sergio Zavala, Co-Captain Matthew Budde, Carlos Manzo, Jose Mendieta, Giovanny Cruz, Tamia Vaughn, Diana Sanchez, Elijah Rodriguez, Mya Ballard, and Kevin Martinez.
“This season has brought many challenges with scheduling matches and fielding a complete team,” said Coach Coatney Sr. “The Steelmen met all challenges and accomplished both team and individual success over the boards, including Sergio Zavala finishing second overall in individual conference points, along with Matthew Budde and Carlos Manzo finishing in the top thirty in the conference.”
JTHS wishes the “Pawns of Steel” the best as they journey to Peoria to compete in state chess finals.