School News

Pioneers heading back to state tourney

By Carson Tigges, Ledger Sports Editor
Published: Monday, May 24

A year ago, Maharishi School’s substate final vs. Oskaloosa came down to the final set of the final match before the Pionners ultimatly punched their ticket to the Class 1A final four.

This time around, five players returning from that squad did what they could to keep gray hairs off the head of head coach Lawrence Eyre and stormed through their two matches to earn an astounding sixth-straight trip to the state tournament.

The Pioneers are part of the final four for the 13th time in 23 years under Eyre, and are now staring a possible state title in the eyes. Along with Aplington-Parkersburg, Atlantic and Waterloo Columbus, they will go after that Class 1A team title June 1 at Johnston High School.

Maharishi School ripped through Oskaloosa 5-0 to claim the title after pounding Grinnell in the morning match by a score of 5-1.

Against Grinnell, Thomas Weiss, still nursing a wrist injury suffered at last week’s district tournament fell 6-0, 6-1 to district champ and two-time state singles qualifier Charlie Wilhelm. With bandages aplenty, Weiss bounced back vs. Oskaloosa to win 6-4, 6-1 vs. state doubles qualifier Andy Stefanik — a victory that Eyre proclaimed as the highlight of the day.

Tensions ran high for Maharishi School throughout the match vs. Grinnell as Weiss’ state-qualifying doubles partner Derek Thatcher stumbled out of the blocks losing the first set 6-2 before hitting his stride and taking the match with 6-1 and 6-4 wins. District singles champ Joseph Gelfand won 6-1, 6-1 at No. 2, Sam Arsanjani picked up a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 victory at No. 4, Jay Stewart won 6-1, 6-1 at No. 5 and Raphael Gelfand easily won 6-2, 6-0 at No. 6 to clinch the match in singles play.

Oskaloosa advanced through round one with a 5-2 victory over Davis County.

In the Pioneers’ match vs. Oskaloosa, nerves appeared to have vanished and the Indians’ intensity level was matched as Maharishi School cruised to a 5-0 victory.

Along with Weiss’ victory, Joseph Gelfand (6-0, 6-0), Thatcher (6-2, 6-1), Arsanjani (6-2, 6-1) and Stewart (6-2, 6-1) all won in straight sets to push the Pioneers through.

“It was a joy for me to see our guys playing with energy, purposefulness and poise vs Osky — everyone played better than in our nervous morning round,” said Eyre.

Gelfand, Weiss and Thatcher will play the state singles and doubles tournament Friday and Saturday before moving on to the state team tournament next week.

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