School News

Pioneers’ Stickels Wins District Title Friday

From the Fairfield Ledger, May 13 -- New Indian School isn’t used to playing from behind in boys’ tennis, but the host Pioneers did just that to capture a district title on the M.U.M. courts Friday in Fairfield.

Needing a win from their No. 1 doubles team to overtake Keokuk, Pioneer senior Raphael Gelfand and freshman Chandre Morales defeated Mount Pleasant in a three-set nail-biter. The Pioneers topped the Mount Pleasant team 7-6 (6), 4-6, 7-6 (5) to wrap up the title.

“The deciding match couldn’t have been more dramatic. We were on the brink ... more than once it appeared that Mount Pleasant would win. But Raffi and Chandre simply refused to lose,” said Pioneer head coach Steve Briggs.

The Pioneers won the title with 23 points to edge Keokuk’s 21. Mount Pleasant finished third with 11 points and Fairfield was fourth scoring six.

“I could not have been more proud of the guys. They played with a lot of heart, especially Chandre who was playing in his first district,” Briggs said.

In singles action, sophomore Sam Stickels of New Indian School and sophomore Alexander Punj representing Fairfield both secured trips to the individual state tennis meet. In the championship match between the crosstown rivals, Punj grabbed the first two games before Stickels won the next six to take the first set 6-2. Stickels continued his winning ways in the second set, where he went up 5-2 and held Punj off for the 7-5 win.

Both Stickels and Punj won every match in straight sets on their way to the finals.

“Sam and [Alexander] always produce exciting tennis,” Briggs said. “Both players competed at a high level throughout the match. ... It wouldn’t surprise me to see them finish in the top five or six at state, maybe higher.”

Also medalling for the Pioneers was the doubles duo of Girindra Selleck and Surya Sawhney. The team won three matches to place third.

Team Scores

1. MSAE 23, 2. Keokuk 21, 3. Mount Pleasant 11, 4. Fairfield 6, 5. Davis County 5, 6. Fort Madison 5, 7. West Burlington/Notre Dame 4, 8. Centerville 0

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