Conference champs fare well at state


Seniors RJ Turija and Payton Sanza compete against each other while preparing for the state tournament.

Libby Meagher, Staff Writter

  Two boys meticulously set up their chess game.  Rook, knight, bishop, king.  Smiling, they shake hands, a gesture that conveys not only respect, but also friendship.  The boys are focused as they make their first moves. This isn’t just any  competition:  it’s state.
After winning conference for the first time in school history, Kobe Aquino, senior, earned a gold medal for going undefeated at state, and Simon Snydersmith, sophomore, earned a silver medal for winning five matches.
“Getting gold at state caught me off guard because I didn’t expect to keep winning all my matches,” Aquino said.
Coach Josh Bloodgood wasn’t  surprised though.
“This is the best season that our chess team has had,”  Bloodgood said, unable to suppress a smile.   After a successful and intense season, they see making state as a wonderful reward for their hard work—and a chance to prove themselves even further.
“Usually at state the toughest opponents are going to be there,” R.J. Turija, team captain, senior, said.
For this reason, the team worked to refine their skills in time for the day.  The practices not only allowed the players to gain more experience, they also provided bonding time, something the players have found extremely valuable over the years.
“This team has been playing together since middle school,” Bloodgood said, explaining the team’s success.  He believes that this is one of the reasons the chess team is so unique.
This companionship has allowed the boys to bond both inside and outside of practice, allowing them to strengthen their skills and relationships.
“We’re very good friends and teammates,” said Grant Lovett, senior, when describing his fellow teammates.
According to Lovett, they encourage and forgive each other, two important qualities for any sports team.
“We’re always there for each other,” said Lovett. “We help each other.”
The team is very optimistic and excited to see what the future will hold.
“This is the hardest working team since I’ve been here,” Turija said.  “We are all very passionate about winning.”