Maharishi School Boys Varsity Tennis Team is the 2009 Runner-up at State.


This is a terrific accomplishment for this team of underclassmen. Congratulations to coach Eyre and the Varsity Team.

Here is the Fairfield Ledger article of Wednesday June 3rd.

JOHNSTON — For the past five years and 12 of the last 22, Maharishi School has been a part of the boys tennis final four. With those numbers them as a tailwind, one may think state meet experience would be a strength for the Pioneers. (Check out more sports news in our archive.)

However, after four players left from last year’s third-place team, the young Maharishi School squad had some learning to do. In the end, MSAE fell just short of fifth state championship in that 22-year span and took a runner-up finish. The Pioneers beat a “rough and tumble” Fort Dodge St. Edmond team 5-3 before falling 5-0 in the championship match to Dubuque Wahlert – a team that took their sixth Class 1A championship in as many tries.

Since dropping to Class 1A in 2003, Wahlert hasn’t ended a season without a state championship. Maharishi School now has four state championships, five runner-up and three third-place finishes in those 12 qualifying years.

“It was a long day, but a great day and a terrific outcome for this young team,” said head coach Lawrence Eyre. “Looking at the other schools, St. Edmond had four seniors, Wahlert had three and Corning, who we didn’t get to play, had four. Given all that, it was a great outcome, and we’re really proud of our boys.” Weather forced play indoors from the get-go, and after waiting for the conclusion of a senior-league women’s doubles tournament, the four teams began their state tournament run. The Pioneers drew St. Edmond in the opening match to begin their quest.

In singles, Thomas Weiss (6-1, 7-5) and Joseph Gelfand (6-1, 6-4) won in straight sets in the No. 1 and No. 2 matches to give MSAE an early 2-0 lead. Derek Thatcher hit a slight bump in the road losing his second set 6-0, but paired a 6-4 win in the first with a third set victory by another 6-4 score to take the match. Sam Arsanjani won 6-2, 6-2 at No. 4 singles before St. Edmond broke through for two victories at No. 5 and No. 6 making the score 4-2 heading to doubles. Maharishi School's duo of Gelfand and Thatcher took fourth-place at last weekend’s state doubles tournament but fell 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 at No. 1 doubles to the St. Edmond pair of Bryan Huss and John Engler. Weiss and Arsanjani then put the match away with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 victory at No. 2 doubles to take Jay Stewart and Brenton Schwartz off the hook at No. 3.

“I was just relieved to get that win,” Weiss said. “I started off a little nervous, kind of had a lapse in the second set, but didn’t want to put our No. 3 team in that position. I’m happy that we got that match” It wasn’t the first time Weiss and Arsanjani clinched a big victory for the team and Eyre doesn’t have to go back more than 10 days to recall another big victory from the pair.

“There were really some shades of the substate final against Oskaloosa in No. 2 doubles and the boys came through once more,” he said. “St. Edmond hadn’t been there since 1986 so they were really laying it all out there, but we happened to be in their way.”

With the victory, MSAE moved to take on the five time state champ Dubuque Wahlert who had just steamrolled Corning with a 5-0 score. Weiss faced state singles champ Carter Giese at No. 1 singles, and just like the final 5-0 team score, the match was much closer than the final tally may indicate. Giese beat Weiss 6-0, 6-0 and Wahlert continued to take four more victories as Jon Moore beat Gelfand at No. 2 (6-2, 6-3), Michael Runde defeated Thatcher at No. 3 (6-0, 6-2), Joey Ottavi beat Jay Stewart at No. 5 (6-3, 6-2) and Justin Gonnor downed Brenton Schwartz at No. 6 (6-3, 7-5). With the outcome in doubt until the bitter end and doubles teams beginning to warm up, Arsanjani didn’t get to finish his No. 4 match – a match that he led a third-set tiebreaker – before Gonner clinched the team victory for Wahlert. While the scores may not reinforce the closeness of the match, the nearly three hours it took them to do it does.

“With every season, my hope is always for improvement. We never set team goals because if you happen to not meet them, you’re a failure,” said Eyre. “When we commit ourselves to get better the outcome usually takes care of itself.”

With only one slot left for recognized improvement, the focus will remain on improvement with the entire lineup returning for 2010. “The kids have even offered to play more tennis this summer – that is great to hear and just makes my job easier,” Eyre added. “We can’t control our opponents, and some teams may come out of nowhere, be we do have a large say about how we play.” Even Weiss, with just one season in the books and three left in his high school career, echoed the thoughts of his coach. When asked where his focus now turns, “Improve” was the first word out of his mouth. “Just want to get better,” Weiss said, but then added some other things on his mind, “I also want to beat Dubuque Wahlert. And win a state title.”