The Maharishi School finished No. 2 at the Class 1A boy?s team tennis tournament Tuesday in Des Moines.
The Pioneers first defeated Atlantic 5-1 in the semifinals while making a little history when Bhavani Allison became the first female to play in the boys state tennis team finals and the Pioneers victory sent them to a record 14th state championship match.
?The entire team played well in the morning match,? said Head Coach Steve Briggs. ?I was especially pleased with Bhavani?s performance. She broke a barrier today, and she played great tennis for us in the process.?
The 17-0 Pioneers then headed to the final match of the season knowing the reality of their obstacle.
?Realistically, the coaches knew that if we reached the title match, that was about as far as we could go,? admitted Briggs who added, ?Dubuque Wahlert was deep, experienced and skilled. All season long, Wahlert has been unstoppable.?
Briggs also said that since winning the state team title in 2016, Wahlert added two more quality players to a roster that had its top six players returning.
The final was 5-1 in favor of the Golden Eagles with the lone victory for MSAE coming from the racket of Kai Vessey who defeated fifth-place state singles finisher, Jack Lucy, 6-0, 6-4.
?We returned to Fairfield with the second place trophy and a feeling of accomplishment,? said Briggs.
?Kai accomplished a rare career achievement today,? said the Pioneers leader. ?He added two more wins to his string of 12 consecutive post season victories which included leading the Pioneers to the championship match in 2015 and 2018. Kai?s been our rock for the past four years. Even as a freshman, Kai handled the pressures of the state finals with ease.
?After the medal awards, Kai reminded me that he?s finished second four times in state competitions? twice at team state to go along with his second place singles finish in 2017 and last Saturday?s second place doubles finish.?
?We won?t see Kai, Devan, Daniel, David, and Karthik in a Pioneer uniform again,? said the MSAE skipper, ?but these guys are ready for the next chapter in their lives. I?m sure they?re going to accomplish great things.?