In IHSA, Sterling second at chess sectional, Oregon and E-P compete at cheer sectional

Sterling High School senior Dayton Fisher thinks about his game strategy while playing a practice round against chess teammate Jose Figuroa on Wednesday.

ROCKFORD — Sterling took second place in the sectional chess tournament held Saturday at Auburn High School.

Also over the weekend, the Illinois High School Association also conducted competitive cheerleading sectionals and crowned state champions in competitive dance.


In the fourth-round matchup for the title, Maple Park Kaneland outscored Sterling 44.5 to 23.5.

Sterling will still qualify for the state championships, which will be Feb. 10-11 at the Peoria Civic Center.

Kaneland finished its run with match victories against Rockford Christian, Cary-Grove and third-place finisher Stillman Valley.

Sterling went 3-1 for the tournament. It defeated Rockford Guilford 62.5 to 5.5, McHenry 44 to 24 and Rockford Auburn 47.5 to 20.5.

Sterling played nine members of its roster. Isaiah Phillips had a win, a loss and two draws. Elias Jensen went 1-0-3, Jacob Brown went 3-1-0, Ryan Austin went 3-1-0, Ethan Howell went 2-0-2, Alexis Torres went 2-2-0, Dayton Fisher went 3-0-1, August Kuehl went 1-2-0 and Martin Fisher was 1-0-0.

For each contest, players are ranked 1 to 8 and matched accordingly vs. the opponent. A victory between No. 1s is worth 12 points, No. 2s gets 11 points, and so forth. On a draw, the points are split.

In Sterling’s championship match against Kaneland, Phillips played Matt Manugas to a draw, Jensen played Tommy Whitney to a draw, Brown lost to Gabe DelGado, Austin lost to Logan Pope, Howell played Megan Fountain to a draw, Torres lost to AJ Faruga, Fisher played Jake Smith to a draw and Fisher defeated Hunter Johnston.

The other sectional champions across the state were Belleville West, Chicago Payton, Lincolnshire Stevenson, Aurora Waubonsie Valley, Tinley Park Andrew, Aurora Illinois Math and Science, and Dunlap.

Competitive cheerleading

The season ended on Saturday for the Sauk Valley area’s competitive cheerleading squads taking part in the sectional at Belvidere North High School.

None of the area teams qualified for the state finals, which will be Feb. 3 and 4 at Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington.

In the small-school division, Stillman Valley finished sixth with a score of 79.57, Byron was seventh at 79.03, Oregon was 11th at 72.17 and Erie-Prophetstown was 14th at 62.97.

Knoxville won the small-school division with a score of 89.57. The other state qualifiers were Poplar Grove North Boone, Taylor Ridge Rockridge, Rockford Lutheran and Oneida ROWVA.

In the co-ed division, Freeport was seventh at 84.83 and Fulton was 10th at 72.17.

South Elgin won the co-ed competition with a score of 96.07. The other state qualifiers were Belvidere North, Libertyville, Huntley and Fox Lake Grant.

Competitive dance

In the competitive dance state finals Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington, Jacksonville narrowly won the Class 1A title over defending champion Morris.

The teams’ scores were separated by only five hundredths of a point, 92.40 to 92.35. Highland was third and Marion fourth.

Morris and Morton were the only qualifiers from the Washington sectional (which had included Sterling) to advance after Friday’s preliminary round. Streator was 19th, Minonk Fieldcrest was 24th, Gardner South Wilmington was 25th and Eureka 29th after the first day.

In Class 2A, Lake Forest was first and Geneva second, Chicago Whitney Young was third and Joliet Catholic fourth. In Class 3A, Roselle Lake Park took first and Barrington second, Lincolnshire Stevenson third and Naperville North fourth.

Roselle Lake Park’s score of 97.87 was the highest of the competition.

Troy Taylor

Troy E. Taylor

Was named editor for and the Gazette and Telegraph in 2021. An Illinois native, he has been a reporter or editor in daily newspapers since 1989.