Oak Lawn Community High School’s Chess team has much to brag about. The team has 24 members, including a varsity team consisting entirely of seniors: Fidencio Gonzalez, Paul Stachowicz, James Lenihan, Mike Winski, Brylle Handang, Nick Garcia-Lara, Matt Fetzer, and Mike Ewers.
Individually, the team shines with first board player Fidencio Gonzalez, who has been a varsity member for four years with a record of 5-1 for the season. Mike Winski is also a four year varsity member, and currently the fourth board with a record of 4-2 in conference. Paul Stachowicz, Matt Fetzer and Brylle Handang each have four wins this season. James Lenihan and Nick Garcia-Lara are also off to great starts. Mike Ewers, a senior who returned after a one year hiatus, is playing extremely well on board eight this year. Mike has also medaled in both weekend tournaments.
Coach John Faro is also hoping for continued success off the boards and in the classrooms. The Chess Team was honored last year by the Illinois High School Association with the Team Academic Achievement Award for earning a 3.5 cumulative team grade point average.
The team competed in two weekend tournaments, one of which was the Argo team tournament on November 10. The team tied for third place and took fifth place out of 22 teams due to tie-break points. The Spartans are currently in third place with a record of 4-2 in the South Suburban Conference Red Division as it anxiously prepares to finish the second half of the season with a barrage of victories. The weekend of February 7-10 the team will travel to Peoria to compete in the state chess championship.