The Same, But Different
2001 opened with more of the same. Up until the third round, all the usual suspects were on top, including three-time defending champion Madison West. The only real surprise was the upset of University School in the first round by a surprising Marquette squad.
In the third round, the battles began in earnest, and the strain started to show. Racine Walden drew serious blood, knocking off the defending champs. Meanwhile Nicolet was dealing with a strong squad from Milwaukee School of Languages. MSL was led by Anthony Parker, who had the night before won the playoff for the right to represent Wisconsin in this year's Denker Tournament of High School Champions, defeating last year's representative, Josh Zillmer, 2-0. In this round he lost his individual game with freshman Ashish Vaja, who as an eighth-grader last year won the Junior Varsity (K-12) event, and Nicolet took the match.
It gets serious: Racine v Nicolet, R4
This set up the marquee match for the fourth round, Racine Walden vs Nicolet. Walden was led by Morgan Feeney, who won the Pan-Am Scholastic held in Milwaukee over Christmas break, in which Vaja had also participated. Poetically, the match came down to their individual game. The game position was level, but Nicolet had the edge in the completed games, Feeney had to win for Walden to take the match. She pushed hard for a win, and in doing so the draw escaped, so Nicolet won the game and the match,
The fifth round saw the possibility for a first in Wisconsin interscholastic sports history. Milwaukee Vincent, whose basketball team had won the state title the night before, was playing Nicolet in Division 1, and their second team was playing Madison West in Division 2, and both matches were for the title! Unfortunately for them, Vincent wasn't able to pull off this particular trifecta. Both squads lost, and the Division 1 title belonged to Nicolet. Marquette overcame a second-round loss to Madison West to finish second, with Fort Atkinson taking third. There were so many teams following hard on the heels of Nicolet that Vincent's loss to Nicolet in the final round dropped them all the way back to seventh place.
In Division 2, Madison West's second team was catching the breaks their first team was missing. While they actually scored fewer game points than the first team (20.5 game points wins a match, and West 2 averaged less than 24 points per match, which West 1 averaged over 26 points, despite losing two matches) they squeaked their way through to a perfect 5-0 score and the Division 2 title, facing down the only other unbeaten team, Milwaukee Vincent, in the final round. Hartford Union stormed back from an early loss to Vincent to take second, with Vincent dropping back to fourth place, behind Manitowoc.
Matt Schladweiler, Winner K8
Nicolet's second team played in the K-12 event, and won the Team title, while the Top Individual K-12 honors went to Paul Lacosse of Manitowoc Roncalli with a perfect 6-0 score. The best K-8 team title went to Marion Elementary, while top individual honors in that group went to Matthew Schladweiler of Kewaskum.
The tournament kicked off Friday night with a two-game playoff between Anthony Parker from Milwaukee School of Languages and Josh Zillmer from Columbus for the right to represent Wisconsin in the Denker Tournament of HS Champions. They had finished in a tie at the Junior Championship, and the tie needed to be resolved by a playoff. Parker won the first game handily, which left Zillmer having to press hard for a win in the second game, as a draw would have given the match to Parker. As is usually the case, this resulted in a second loss for Zillmer.
NM Alex Betaneli contemplates his move against Patrick McElwee, one of five players who drew against NM Betaneli
Saturday night two champions gave simuls. NM Alex Betaneli, the current state champion gave up only five draws out of nearly 40 games, in a simul that went deep into the night. The players who gained draws from the State Champion were: Lou Her and Sou Her of Milwaukee School of Languages, Patrick McElwee of Milwaukee James Madison, and Paul Riordan of Manitowoc Lincoln.
Michael Wolf looks over the draw he just earned from Bryan Lilly. At the top of the picture is the position on John Machi's board. Machi earned his draw a few moves later.
In the other simul, former Wisconsin State Champion Brian Lilly gave up 3 draws out of 18 games. One of the draws went to Kelly Borman, one of the TD's for the event, and the other two went to John Machi and Michael Wolf, of BrookField East.
Bryan Lilly thinks about his game with Kelly Borman, one of three players to draw him
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State Champion: GM Josh Friedel