This past Saturday April 29, the Stuart Hall Chess Team competed in the Louisiana State Scholastic Championship, held at St. Dominic in Lakeview. More than 160 players participated, making it the largest State Championship turnout in many years.
In the 61 player K2 section, 15 Stuart Hall players (Declan Albro '22, Charlie Avin '22, Patrick Avin '23, Joseph Cusimano '22, CJ Encalarde '22, Mike Graugnard '23, Liam Hollard '23, Thomas Hulefeld '22, John Michael Maristany '22, Grady Miles '22, Connor Rooney '22, Parker Rooney '24, Kennon Russo '22, August Sauska '23, and Eli Weber '24) competed and the top 4 scores were counted as the team score. Our K2 Knights entered the final round only a half point ahead of archrival Lusher and Baton Rouge International School but finished the last round well and pushed the score ahead of the others with a 16.5 point win over Lusher (15 points) and BRIS (14.0) to win 1st place and capturing their second State Championship in a row.
In the 57 player K4 Section, Stuart Hall was missing a few key players due to schedule conflicts and could not compete for a team score (in this tournament, 3 players are needed to make a team). Undeterred, Stuart Hall veterans Ryan Avin '21 and Aidan Hollard '21 nevertheless made a go of it.Ryan Avin tied for 2nd place (8th on tie breaks) with a great 4-1 record. Aidan scored 2 points (33rd place), losing only to the 3rd and 5th place finishers with 2 points.
Individually, our Knights were quite impressive, with 10 of the top 20 finishers overal being Stuart Hall players! Even more significantly, 4 of those were first year players! Charlie Avin won 1st place and the State Champion Title with a clean sheet of 5 points.
John Michael Maristany and Connor Rooney tied for 3rd (7th and 8th respectively on tie breaks), August Sauska (3.5 pts/ 11th place), Kennan Russon (3.5/ 13th place), Declan Albro (3.5/ 14th place), Mike Graugnard (3.0/16th), Patrick Avin (3.0/ 18th place), Joseph Cusimano (3.0/ 19th place), Parker Rooney 3.0/ 20th place), CJ Encalarde (2.5/ 28th place), Liam Hollard (2.5/ 28th place), Eli Weber (2/ 40th place, Thomas Hulefeld (2/ 45th place), Grady Miles (2/ 46th place).
This young team has given us two years of State Championship wins and City League wins. Two of our players, Charlie Avin and John Michael Maristany made it into the top 100 in the country for their age this year. They have worked hard and consistently, never resting on their previous victories, and have shown the State of Louisiana and New Orleans what kind of mettle Stuart Hall School for Boys produces. One nice surprise is the addition of several younger players onto the chess scene, who, in their first year of chess, braved tough competition with more experienced players, and came through with results much higher than expected.
Stuart Hall Chess Knights, you have represented yourselves and your school most admirably and have set a standard for scholastic chess in our great city. You play with heart and commitment, you have worked hard and have earned the rewards. Your Coach is most proud of you, and believes in each and every one of you. Congratulations to all of you!