School News

Pioneers Win Hometown Showdown

By Michael Leach, Ledger sports editor

The Maharishi School boys’ tennis team had to go without two of its varsity mainstays Monday against Fairfield but received a huge lift from a pair of newcomers.

MSAE sophomores Davis Fleshman and Avery Mullenneaux both posted straight set wins in their varsity singles debuts to help the Pioneers roll to a 7-2 win in the annual crosstown matchup at Fairfield Middle School courts.

The meet win improves the Pioneers’ record to 2-1, and for Fairfield it’s just their first loss of the season.

In the premier matchup of the day, No. 1 singles pitted freshmen Alexander Punj and Sam Stickels, who made his first career start in the No. 1 spot. After falling behind in the first set, Stickels rallied for a 7-6 win to open the match. Punj came back for a 6-2 win in the second set, however, and then carried the momentum into the third set supertiebreaker for a 10-7 victory. With the win, Punj kept his perfect season record intact.

MSAE’s usual No. 1 Sam Arsanjani, as well as Solaris Nite, were out of the lineup Monday.

Other singles wins for Maharishi School came from Thomas Weiss at No. 2, Raphael Gelfand at No. 3 and Surya Sawhney at No. 4.

In No. 1 doubles, Weiss and Stickels squeaked out an 11-10 win. The Pioneer duo trailed 3-7 before forcing a tiebreaker and prevailing 7-3 in the tiebreaker. The No. 2 doubles team of Gelfand and Sawhney won their match, while Matt Burnstedt and Matt McCan handed Fairfield its second win of the day at No. 3 doubles.

The Trojans have a quick turnaround and will face Fort Madison today, while the Pioneers travel to Keokuk on Thursday.

Fairfield vs. MSAE


  • 1. Punj (FF) def. Stickels (MSAE) 6-7, 6-2 (10-7)
  • 2. Weiss (MSAE) def. Soupiset (FF) 6-1, 6-0
  • 3. Gelfand (MSAE) def. Thorn (FF) 6-0, 6-0
  • 4. Sawhney (MSAE) def. Price (FF) 6-1, 6-0
  • 5. Fleshman (MSAE) def. Burnstedt (FF), 6-4, 6-1
  • 6. Mullenneaux (MSAE) def. McCan (FF), 6-1, 6-2


  • 1. Stickels/Weiss (MSAE) def. Punj/Soupiset (FF) 11-10 (7-3)
  • 2. Gelfand/Sawhney (MSAE) def. Thorn/Price (FF) 6-2, 6-1
  • 3. Burnstedt/McCan (FF) def. Selleck/Anderson (MSAE) 6-3, 6-4



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