School News

Pioneers Get a Crack at Tough Pella Invitational Field

By Carson Tigges, Fairfield Ledger sports editor | Apr 25, 2011

PELLA — For the first time in three years, weather allowed the Maharishi School boys’ tennis team to play the Pella Invitational Saturday.

In what could prove to be a preview of the substate tournament coming up next month, the Pioneers finished second in the final team standings — three points behind first-place Boone. Maharishi School scored 20 points, Boone finished with 23 and Grinnell was a distant third with 14.

Maharishi School could potentially see five of its competitors from Saturday at the substate tournament, but will not run into Boone unless each squad makes the state tournament.

The biggest win for Maharishi School in the tournament came thanks to Sam Arsanjani in singles play. The third-seeded Arsanjani ended up runner-up in the singles bracket, but got there after posting an 8-5 semifinal victory over Grinnell’s three-time state singles qualifier — fourth place finisher in 2010 — Charlie Wilhelm.

Boone’s John Ellis took care of Arsanjani 8-0 in the championship match.

Thomas Weiss and Derek Thatcher entered the tournament as the top-seeded doubles team, and came up with nine team points before falling in the championship match. The Pioneer duo received a first-round bye, won against pairs from Boone, Pella, but lost an 8-5 match against Boone’s No. 1 pair of Chad Moklestad and Mitch McPartland.

Weiss and Thatcher started the match in a 3-0 hole they could never dig out of.

Raphael Gelfand finished fifth out 14 entrants in the singles field. The sophomore lost only one match on the day and finished out the consolation rounds with wins over two seniors from Pella.

Brenton Schwartz and Solaris Nite also contributed to the team point tally with a first-round win at No. 2 doubles. After an opening-round win, the pair was edged, 8-6, by eventual champs Moklestad and McPartland. Schwartz and Nite finished the day 1-1 in the consolation bracket to claim sixth place.

The Pioneers will head back into dual competition Tuesday when they will host Burlington. Maharishi School will also take on Iowa City High Thursday at home before hosting the Pioneer Invitational Saturday.

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