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Nicollet Middle School team wins National Chess Championship

Nicollet Middle School team wins National Chess Championship

Twenty-two students from Nicollet and Eagle Ridge middle schools traveled to Atlanta May 10-12 to compete in the U.S. Chess Federation’s National Middle School Championships. 

The team from Nicollet took home top honors, winning the national championship in the U700 section. The championship was the second ever for Nicollet Middle School to go along with dozens of previous national titles.

Keiran Martin led the U700 team, finishing as the top player in the country in that category. Luna Tiongson placed 12th and Dylan Torgerud placed 30th. Other members of the championship team included Miles Malundo, Mike Krasnokutski, Blake Bennett and Minhchau Le.

Two other teams just missed first-place finishes. The U900 and U1100 teams each placed second in their sections, each half a point out of first. Franklin Briceno Cerrato led the U900 team with a fourth-place finish. Torin Gehrke placed 11th, followed by Alex Rossow, Gabe Torgerud and Ziran Yu in a tie for 20th. Other U900 team members were Auggie Cater, Austin Avery and Gracin Mathews.

Emery Gehrke placed fifth to lead the U1100 team. Miguel Kirckof landed in the top 10, as well, with an eighth-place finish. Jon Nguyen and Charlie Doll were also scorers.

In the National Middle School Blitz category, Nicollet placed third in the country, led by scorers Kirckof, Avery, Sammy Porta and Levi Spitznagle.

Coach Brian Ribnick said after the performance there were a lot of smiles on his players’ faces and a sense of accomplishment for his team.

“I feel very good about the performance. They all played at a very high level,” he said. “(The things that allowed them to be successful are) the same as what it takes to be successful in life: setting high goals, working hard, believing and never quitting.”