School News

Kai Vessey finishes Second in State Singles

Kai Vessey finished second in the state tennis singles this weekend.  Kai is an upper school student at Maharishi School, one of the top private college preparatory day and boarding schools in the midwest, located in Fairfield, Iowa.Foreign exchange students have proved to be a nemesis for Maharishi School players over the years. Tyler Cleveland (1994) was denied a record four state singles titles by a Spaniard and Adam Bordeaux (2001) failed to win back to back titles when he lost in the state finals to a German.

On a foggy Saturday morning at Waterloo’s Byrnes Park, the #1 and #2 seeded players stood between Pioneer star Kai Vessey and the championship trophy. In his opening match, Kai battled top-seeded Nate Meister from Marion for 3 hours before taking the match by a score of 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.

“The Marion match was a bit of a nightmare,” explained Pioneer coach, Steve Briggs. “An average point was 10-15 shots, but the bigger challenge Kai faced was the exceptionally poor sportsmanship on the part of his opponent who taunted Kai at every opportunity. I’ve been playing tennis for 55 years and I’ve never seen more objectionable antics. Meister never broke the rules, but his gamesmanship was blatant and aimed at distracting Kai. At one point, Kai, who possesses a very wry wit, asked if I had a pair of ear plugs. Kai took the high road and never once engaged the guy whose own mother reprimanded her son for his poor sportsmanship.”

After taking out the top seed in a physically and mentally exhausting three-hour semi-final, Kai faced the #40 ranked junior from the Czech Republic. It was a relief for Kai to be playing a classy player who let his big forehand speak for him.

A little background on the Czech star from LeMars high school: Malik is a licensed pilot, runs marathons, and is an expert skier. Although Malik ways 160 pounds, he bench presses 225. He’s also a junior on a two year student visa, a fact Malik’s coach proudly announced at the coach’s meeting.

After the morning match, Kai was a step slower which made it difficult because Malik was hitting a ton of big forehands complimented by clever drop shots and well-placed serves. But by the 2nd set, Kai was getting his quickness back and had 3 game points to go up 5-3. Vessey never quite got over the hump, falling 6-2, 7-5 to a very worthy opponent.

“Our community should be extremely proud of Kai,” offered Briggs. “Kai showed a lot of character out there, a lot of integrity.”

Although the best Iowa native, Kai was not the best player in the tournament. For the third time, a Maharishi School standout had been denied the state singles title by an outstanding European player.

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