The Metcalf chess team collected some well-deserved hardware at this year’s Minnesota State Scholastic Chess Championship, held March 7-8 in Bloomington.
Bringing home the gold for the Metcalf team were Harrison Stage, Joseph Santos, Soren Leafblad and Mitchell Kellen. Individual tournament placement trophies were awarded to: Harrison Stage (6th); Mitchell Kellen (7th); Soren Leafblad (10th); Jake Schoenbauer (12th); Joseph Santos (14th); Cash Primus (17th); and David Santos (20th). Nearly 250 players participated in the event.
Additionally, the Metcalf A team was named traveling league champions, with outstanding league performances by Mitchell Kellen, Owen Krick, Jake Schoenbauer, JJ Johnson and Harrison Stage
Brian Ribnick, a retired District 191 math teacher who was the first recipient of the District 191 Spirit of Excellence award in 2016 and who was inducted in the Minnesota Chess Hall of Fame in 2019, has been the longtime chess coach at Metcalf.
“Our chess team set a goal of winning the state middle school chess title in our final season,” said Ribnick. “With a record of 30 titles going into the event, we wanted to go out on top! The team was committed from day one of practice in October to achieving that goal and have trained especially hard all year because of it.”
He added: “The 20 players that competed were so dominant that they clinched the title before the last round–a very unusual accomplishment. I am very proud of these motivated and talented young people.”
The Metcalf chess team will participate in the K-9 National Chess Tournament April 24-26 in Jacksonville, Fla.