School News

Pioneers’ Stickels Finishes Third in State Singles

WATERLOO — New Indian School sophomore Sam Stickels added another state medal to his growing pile Saturday, finishing third in singles play at the individual state tennis tournament at Byrne’s Park Tennis Center in Waterloo.

Stickels, who claimed fourth place at the Class 1A doubles competition last year alongside partner Thomas Weiss, pulled off two upsets in this year’s tournament to earn a placing in the top three. The sixth-seeded Pioneer upset the No. 3 seed, Chad Moklestad of Boone (6-4, 6-3), before defeating fourth-seeded Pete Walker of Red Oak (6-3, 6-4).

Stickels won his first two matches Friday to reach the final four, defeating Cherokee’s Brett Walker (6-1, 6-0) and Moklestad in straight sets. On Saturday, Stickels’s flawless run ended with a 6-0, 6-1 loss at the hands of Columbus Catholic’s Alex Bernt, who went on to finish runner-up to Aaron Chalstrom of St. Edmond in the championship match.

Stickels regrouped Saturday afternoon to roll to the two-set win over Walker in the third-place consolation match.

And as impressive as the run to the third-place medal was, New Indian School head coach Steve Briggs said there’s no reason to believe Stickels can’t finish even higher in his final two seasons.

“Stickels was the only underclassman among the top five finishers in the singles, so the next two years should be good ones for Sam,” said Briggs.

Sophomore Alexander Punj, Fairfield’s lone representative, dropped a 6-3, 6-3 match to Dubuque Wahlert senior Brandon Schneider in the opening round. In the consolation bracket, Punj defeated Ballard’s Ryan Vincent (6-0, 6-3) before his season ended with a loss to Moklestad (6-3, 6-0).

In doubles play, New Indian School’s Raphael Gelfand and Chandre Morales won their first match but dropped the next two. Gelfand and Morales opened the tournament with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 win over Norwalk’s doubles tandem and a 6-2, 6-3 loss to the eventual champions from Davenport Assumption. The Pioneer duo’s run ended with a 6-2, 6-4 loss to Pella’s team in the consolation bracket.

With state singles play over, New Indian School’s full squad is competing for the Class 1A team title this morning in Des Moines. Complete results will be available in Wednesday’s Ledger.

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