MWL 2005-06 Preview

(by Mike Wolfe, Cottage Grove & then-OHSCTA Executive Secretary)
The Midwestern Chess League consists of teams from 9 high schools in Lane County:  Churchill, Cottage Grove, Creswell, Junction City, Marist, Pleasant Hill, Sheldon, Springfield, and Willamette. 
Of these teams four are new to the league:  Churchill, Creswell, Junction City, and Willamette.
The league has existed since 2002 when it began with four teams. 
Here is a look at each team:
Churchill—Churchill is one of the new programs joining the league.  The Lancers are building their program this year, and hope to gain experience as they play through the season.
Cottage Grove—The Lions are returning four players from last year’s league champion team.  They lost their captain, Jace Akerlund, to graduation, but they return two 2005 all-state players, Isaiah Dunn and Nick Glesmann, a 2004 all-state player, Korey Humberston, and the 2005 Chess for Success County champion, Matt Harrison.  The Lions finished in a 2nd place tie in last year’s OHSCTA state tournament.
Creswell—Although the Bulldogs are new to the league, they will be led by the return of last year’s Midwestern League Most Valuable Player, sophomore Rex Henzie, who, as a player for Marist last year won 9 out of 10 matches at Board 1 for the Spartans.
Junction City—The Tigers join the Midwestern League this year after their inaugural season as a club last year. As just a first-year program, the club competed in the OHSCTA state tournament and finished 4th in the B Division and 15th in the A Division. Junction City is led by sophomore Ethan Oleson and a pair of juniors, David Taylor and Michael Sidener.
Marist—The Spartans will be led this year by junior Nathan Mitch.  Their team always provides spirited competition and we look forward to more of the same this season.
Pleasant Hill—Last year’s league runners-up return their two best players, first team all-leaguers Board One sophomore Charlie Offenbacher and Board Two sophomore David Garcia.  The Billies had a strong 10-4 record last season, and took part in last year’s OHSCTA state tournament with a 10th place finish.
Sheldon—The Irish, assisted by new coach Phil Carlson, figure to improve on last year’s record.  They will be led by senior John Landon, whose victory over the Pleasant Hill captain in final round play last season was one of the major upsets of the year.
Springfield—Several of the Millers return from last year’s team, ready for action.  They participated in the “B” tournament last year and gained some experience.  They are looking forward to a stronger finish this season.
Willamette—The Wolverines are the very newest entry into Midwestern League play.  They will be led by senior   Travis Johnston who was instrumental in getting the Willamette program started. 

There will be some exciting matches as we find out what the new teams will bring to the league.

Matches will be held at the Lane Community College cafeteria on Wednesdays beginning at 4 PM on November 30.  Time controls for the matches will be game/60.