MUNSTER | The School City of Munster chess team has been at or near the top at two Hammond tournaments this winter.
Munster students challenged opponents from across the region at the 16th annual Hammond Chess Invitational Tournament at Hammond High School.
After five rounds, Munster High School students earned a second-place trophy, with David Vogel taking first individually in the division, Akash Shah placing third, and Matt Ryan earning ninth.
Wilbur Wright Middle School also earned a second-place team trophy. Sunny Patel's second-place victory helped achieve that team success, as did Christopher Kirincic's eighth-place win, and Noah Moell's ninth-place finish. Dakota Gronkiewicz, Perima Shah, Evan Dong, and Michaela Marcotte also contributed to the victory.
Elliott Elementary School students also claimed a second-place trophy. Contributions came from Blake Marcotte's second-place victory and Will Moell's ninth-place finish, and Caeden Taylor, Declan Taylor, Finn Manion, Marina Gronkiewicz, Devin Gronkiewicz, Brett Soeka and Timmy Raykovich.
Last but not least, Frank Hammond Elementary School student Fenry Zhou placed first in the Elementary Division.
At the 24th Annual Scholastic Chess of Indiana Individual Championships at Morton High School, top winners advanced to state competition in Indianapolis.
After an entire day of chess matches, Munster's David Vogel placed first in the 12th Grade Championship Division and Akash Shah placed second, both advancing to the state competition held Jan. 26.
Matt Ryan joined them with his seventh-place victory in the 12th Grade JV Division.
In the Eighth-grade JV Division, Sunny Patel achieved first, Noah Moell earned third place and Perima Shah placed eighth. Dakota Gronkiewicz and Christopher Kirincic advanced as well.
In the 6th Grade Championship Division, Blake Marcotte placed first with a perfect 5-0 record. Fenry Zhou also qualified for state, having competed in the Elkhart regionals.
In the 6th Grade JV Division, Devin Gronkiewicz and Brett Soeka advanced.
Finally, in the youngest division, Third Grade and Under, Will Moell took fourth and Arman Kuman, Marina Gronkiewicz and Dylan Hall also advanced to state.