4/10/2014 5:09:00 PM Chess team wins another title
photo by Erik Pague Chess team coach Robert Pruneda smiles with teammates Kyler Villarreal, Axel Rivera, Julian McDonald and Isidrio Larios who are showing off some of the trophies they won last season on Wednesday, March 26.
Earlier this month, members of the mixed McFarland Middle School and Othello High School chess team added to their legacy with a second Columbia Basin championship in as many years. MMS chess players swept the top three spots, taking first, second and third place trophies home over 12 total four-player teams. The first team, made up of MMS students Julian McDonald, Kyler Villarreal, Isidro Larios and Axel Rivera, brought home the gold. The second team of Brayan Garza, Preston Raab, Bryan Lima and Julian Pruneda trailed their teammates by two-and-a-half points to claim second place. The MMS fourth squad placed third on the efforts of Christian Arvizu, Isaiah Smithers, Isaiah Garza and Emily Anderton. Finally, the four OHS representatives placed second out of four high school level teams. They are Ulises Neoponceno, Ricky Montejano, Jesse Wilson and Anthony Rivera. The tournament also awarded individual trophies to best board players with top finishers McDonald, Raab, Lima and Pruneda taking first on their respective boards. Neponucena also took first place on the No. 2 board in the high school bracket. Members of the No. 1 MMS team like McDonald said they were proud of the hard work he and his teammates put in all season to close out their year with such a blowout victory. "Our team took home all the team trophies," McDonald said. They also said they owe a lot of their success to their extra practice in chess club with Mr. Tate while their head coach Rob Pruneda has made it a point to constantly have the team squaring off against each other. "Nobody just comes in and says 'I'm the best,'" Villareal, an eighth grader, said. "You have to play for it." Pruneda said the team benefitted from getting better access to transportation to their meets this season and hopes the success they had this season would lead to even more interest from students. Unfortunately, the team won't get a chance to compete at the state level this season.