Mt Pleasant Defeats Pioneers Boys Tennis Team 6-3

Tennis Coach Steve Briggs Reports

When Friday’s showers soaked Mt Pleasant’s East Lake courts,the Pioneers were handed home court advantage (at the MIU Rec Center). Unfortunately, the Pioneers were unable to capitalize, falling to a determined Mt Pleasant team.

maharishi school boys tennis
The Pioneers were looking for answers in the wrong places. Again and again the PIoneers could be seen rehearsing their strokes, swinging rackets at the air.
“What needed fixing wasn’t technical. It was our mindset,” explained Coach Briggs. “Until we understand that we need to be locked in on every point, we’re vulnerable. That’s on the coaching staff. You don’t learn how to scramble after every ball playing video games and so those of us who didn’t grow up with a screen in our hand need to teach better.”
The Pioneers lost 4 matches by the closest of margins — reversing half those results would have swung the match in favor of the Pioneers.
“We had sizable leads in several matches, but sometimes getting to the finish line isn’t so easy,” said Briggs. “We need to play our best tennis at the end of the match when it matters most; not just in the early going.”
One Pioneer who played with determination from start to finish was Dominic DuPoux, who won both his singles and doubles (with Ruimin Luo) matches without losing a set. Dominic efficiently took care of business, securing 2 wins for the Pioneers.
Dominic DuPoux is the Pioneer Player of the Match for a 2nd time.
Said Briggs: “After the match, Coach Rodgers (Mt P coach for the past 10 years) said, ‘Finally, I can cross beating Maharishi off my bucket list.”
Perseverance paid off for Coach Rodgers; a lesson the Pioneers are still learning.
The Pioneers play a strong Burlington squad at the Punj Center on Tuesday.
Injury report: Pioneer #1 Zak Askar’s Achilles is making progress and we hope to have Zak back on court for postseason play.
#1. Ruimin Luo lost to Own Vansickel.   4-6, 6-2, 10-6
#2 Jayanta Wegman lost to Jake Ensminger 6-1, 6-1
#3 Polo Altynski-Ross lost to Levi Graber 2-6, 7-5, 10-8
#4 Dominic DuPoux defeated Linc Hendrickson 6-2, 6-4
#5 Mekhi Kahui lost to Elliot Cook.  6-4, 6-4
#6 Chacho Roestler lost to Tim Cam 6-2, 3-6, 13-11
#1 & 4. Defeated 1 & 2   6-4, 6-3
#2 & 3. Lost to  3 & 4.   8-6
#5 & 6 defeated  5 & 6.  9-7

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Pioneers Boys Defeat Keokuk — 8-1

Tennis Coach Steve Briggs Reports

The Maharishi Pioneers boys tennis team won convincingly against Keokuk, extending their record to 6-0 for the season.maharishi school tennis

The only loss the Pioneers suffered was due to injury. Playing his first match at #1, Zak Askar injured his ankle at the end of the opening set, which he lost 7-5 to Spanish exchange student, Ivan Lopex. The Keokuk #1 is one of the best players in Southeast Iowa. The extent of Zak’s injury isn’t known, but we hope he’s back on court soon.
#1 doubles provided plenty of excitement. With Zak watching from the bleachers, Polo and Jayanta moved into #1 doubles slot where they faced Lopez and Worster. At 7-7, the Pioneer duo lifted their play to seal the win 9-7. Polo served a strong game at 7 all and came up with the shot of the match in the final game to help secure the win.
“As a coach I pay attention to how the boys handle pressure. Pressure is a fact of life in every sport and the boys are getting familiar with the challenging thoughts and emotions that surface in a close match,” explained Coach Briggs. “Conquering the nerves is a major step toward becoming a top level player.”

Congratulations to Polo Altynski-Ross for being selected as Pioneer Player of the Match. 

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Pioneer Girls Tennis Match Report on 4/21

Tennis Coach Lawrence Eyre Reportstennis girls


“Thursday was inspiring. Every high school tennis player in Fairfield took to the courts. It was high energy tennis, fairly played–with friends across the net.”

 Singles Results

Po.MatchupSet 1Set 2Set 3Result
1 Lily Fenton vs.  Tess Paton8-6winner-team-logo 1-0
2 Ishita Mukadam vs.  Sydney Wells8-1winner-team-logo 1-0
3 Vaisnavii Mohanraj vs.  Madison Greiner8-0winner-team-logo 1-0
4 Isabella Castle vs.  Giteeka Adhikari8-0winner-team-logo 1-0
5 Saraswati Quevedo-Valls vs.  Emma Wendland8-1winner-team-logo 1-0
6 Daira Valls Blazquez vs.  Emily Simpson7-1winner-team-logo 1-0

 Doubles Results

Po.MatchupSet 1Set 2Set 3Result
1 Lily Fenton/Ishita Mukadam vs.  Tess Paton/Madison Greiner8-51-0
2 Vaisnavii Mohanraj/Isabella Castle vs.  Sydney Wells/Emma Wendland8-41-0
3 Saraswati Quevedo-Valls/Daira Valls Blazquez vs.  Giteeka Adhikari/Emily Simpson8-41-0

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Pioneer Girls vs Keokuk tennis match 4/25

Tennis Coach Lawrence Eyre Reports


pioneer girls tennis maharishi Pioneer girls lifted their dual meet record to 4-0 with an 8-1 win over Keokuk on the road.
#1 Lily Fenton and #2 Ishita Mukhadam blanked their opponents in singles and combined to shut out Keokuk’s #1 doubles team as well.
“Challenging conditions today called for flexible tactics–our players adapted well to circumstances beyond their control and made the most of their opportunities.”
Maharishi hosts Albia girls tomorrow (Tuesday) at the Punj Tennis Center at 4:30 pm

 Singles Results

Po.MatchupSet 1Set 2Set 3Result
1 Sophia Rule vs.  Lily Fenton8-0winner-team-logo 1-0
2 Julia de Gala vs.  Ishita Mukadam8-0winner-team-logo 1-0
3 Adi Robinson vs.  Vaisnavii Mohanraj8-1winner-team-logo 1-0
4 Jaelyn Johnson vs.  Isabella Castle8-5winner-team-logo 1-0
5 Brittney Kelly vs.  Saraswati Quevedo-Valls8-3winner-team-logo 1-0
6 Sophia Rule vs.  Daira Valls Blazquez8-3winner-team-logo 1-0

 Doubles Results

Po.MatchupSet 1Set 2Set 3Result
1 Olivia Rule/Julia de Gala vs.  Lily Fenton/Ishita Mukadam8-0winner-team-logo 1-0
2 Adi Robinson/Jaelyn Johnson vs.  Vaisnavii Mohanraj/Isabella Castle8-4winner-team-logo 1-0
3 Brittney Kelly/Sophia Rule vs.  Saraswati Quevedo-Valls/Daira Valls Blazquez8-6winner-team-logo 1-0

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Budding Tulips/Tennis Talent Converge at the Pella Invite 4/23

Tennis Coach Steve Briggs Reports

A morning shower followed by daylong gale force winds didn’t dampen the spirits of the teams that traveled from as far away as Waterloo and Boone to compete in   Pella, a town of predominantly Dutch heritage famous for its Tulip Time Festival and functioning 130 foot tall windmill. Traditional Dutch bakeries line the town square, but that’s a story for another time.
OK, maybe we should talk about Jaarzma Bakery for a minute. On weekends, lines form outside the bakery founded in 1898 by a Dutch immigrant who introduced the sweet taste of Holland to rural Iowa residents. The shop rarely runs short of Cinnamon Crispies, Puff Pillows, Goat Legs, and everyone’s favorite almond paste filled Dutch Letters.

Back to tennis: The host school shared the winner’s trophy at the 15th annual Pella Invite with Grinnell HS. Boone finished 3rd followed by the Pioneers (4th), Waterloo Columbus (5th), Oskaloosa (6th), and Pella II (7th).

“The competition was a level higher than we’re accustomed to,” noted Pioneer coach Steve Briggs. “The tournament included 2021 state finalists — Pella and Boone.”pioneer tennis boys
Despite the stiff competition, Zak Askar led the way for the Pioneers with a win over Pella’s top singles entry. Zak finished the day in 7th place with three quality wins in five matches.
“Zak was exhausted after playing almost non-stop for six hours, but he played all day with a smile on his face,” said Briggs. “Zakpioneer tennis boys was a super ambassador for our school yesterday. Fans were so impressed with his friendly disposition that one coach offered advice how best to play Zak’s opponents. The father of one of Zak’s opponents was so taken by his size and agility that the man offered to introduce Zak to an area college football coach.”
In the doubles tournament, the Pioneers performed equally well. The junior duo of Jayanta Wegman/Polo Altynski-Ross finished 6th and Dominic DuPoux/Mekhi Kahui outlasted Waterloo Columbus for 7th place.
Zak Askar is the Pioneer Player of the Match for a second time this spring.
The Pioneers put their 5-0 record on the line against Keokuk at the Punj Center today and visit Mt Pleasant later in the week.

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Pioneer Boys Tennis Match on 4/21

Coach Steve Briggs Match Report

After several weeks of cold, wind, and rain, the Pioneers made the most of favorable weather, scoring a hard fought victory over FHS.

“We came out on top, but we were 2 points from losing,” acknowledged Steve Briggs. “Zak was a point from losing at #2 and Dominic/Mekhi were a point from losing at #3 doubles. But that’s why we emphasize mental strength. The margin of victory can be slim.”

tennis pioneer

Jayanta Wegman

tennis boys maharishi

Dominic DuPoux

Jayanta Wegman dominated his singles match and played a strong 2nd set in doubles to secure the winning point for the Pioneers. Dominic DuPoux played an equally strong singles match and anchored #3 doubles, repeatedly coming up with clutch volleys when it counted.

Pioneer Players of the Match: Jay and Dominic.
The Pioneers travel to Pella on Saturday.

 Singles Results

Po.MatchupSet 1Set 2Set 3Result
1 Garrett Flanagan vs.  Ruimin Luo6-46-4winner-team-logo 2-0
2 Jace Hannes vs.  Zak Askar3-66-113-11winner-team-logo 2-1
3 Brendan Marcellus vs.  Polo Altynski-Ross6-46-2winner-team-logo 2-0
4 Dil Hurlin vs.  Jayanta Wegman6-16-1winner-team-logo 2-0
5 Aidan Flanagan vs.  Dominic Dupoux6-06-1winner-team-logo 2-0
6 Jack Unger vs.  Mekhi Kahiu6-14-610-3winner-team-logo 2-1

 Doubles Results

Po.MatchupSet 1Set 2Set 3Result
1 Garrett Flanagan/Jace Hannes vs.  Zak Askar/Ruimin Luo7-66-42-0
2 Dil Hurlin/Brendan Marcellus vs.  Polo Altynski-Ross/Jayanta Wegman7-56-1winner-team-logo 2-0
3 Jack Unger/Aidan Flanagan vs.  Mekhi Kahiu/Dominic Dupoux6-1 (4-6)12-10winner-team-logo 1-1
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Perseverance Propels Pioneers Tennis Team to 6-3 Win Over Mt Pleasant

Pioneer Tennis Report by Steve Briggs

pioneer tennis boys teamThe two remaining undefeated tennis teams in Southeast Iowa squared off at the Punj courts on a day when lobs were swallowed by low hanging clouds.

In securing the win, the Pioneers tore a page out “Winning Ugly,” a popular tennis handbook.
“Sometimes it’s not so pretty,” admitted Coach Briggs. “We battled hard to beat a team that doesn’t give you anything. Every guy on Mt Pleasant’s team hustles after everything on every point. I told the guys we’ll take winning ugly anytime over going down looking pretty. It was one of those matches where 1-6 we stayed committed. Every guy on the team won for us today.”
“One of our guys texted from class that he was really nervous,” smiled Briggs, “so before we took the court, I told the guys: ‘have some fun… we’re not going up against the Russian Army.’”
The meet had plenty of heroics… none more than the play produced by Pioneer junior, Zak Askar, the Pioneer Player of the Match.
“Zak’s a rookie but he played like a veteran. He’s only played four varsity matches, but he overcame gritty opponents in both singles and doubles (along with partner Ruimin Luo) to help seal the Pioneer victory,” said Briggs.
The Pioneers (4-0) put their undefeated record on the line against Fairfield HS on Thursday at the FF Middle School courts.

Singles  Scores

1. Ruimin Luo lost to Owen Van Sickel. 7-5, 1-6, 10-6
2. Zak Askar defeated Jake Ensminger. 7-5, 6-4
3. Polo Altynski-Ross lost to Levi Graber 6-1, 6-4
4. Jayanta Wegman defeated Tim Cam. 6-0, 6-1
5. Dominic DuPoux defeated. Elliot Cook 6-4, 6-4
6. Mekhi Kahui lost to Lou Schimmelpfenig. 6-0, 7-5

Doubles  Scores

1 Ruimin and Zak. Defeated Owen and Jake. 7-6, 6-4
2. Polo and Jayanta defeated Levi and Tim. 7-6, 7-2
3. Dominic and Mekhi defeated Lou and Elliot 6-4, 6-4

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Pioneer Tennis Announcements

coach lawrence eyre

Coach Lawrence Eyre

Meet the tennis coaches

This year we have two very reputable coaches teaching the Maharishi School Pioneer tennis teams. On the Pioneer girls’ team, we have Coach Lawrence Eyre, who is both a school teacher and tennis pro and has received the Gold Star Award (making him one of only 100 people to receive such an honor). The award is part of the USTA’s 100th anniversary and goes to those individuals who have grown the game of tennis in their communities.

Lawrence has contributed to the tennis community in many influential ways. Whether it’s through officiating, coaching juniors or college-level players, volunteering at adult tournaments, providing tennis in schools, and even starting the first Community Tennis Association in Fairfield years ago.

coach steve briggs

Coach Steve Briggs

For the Pioneer boys’ team, we are very lucky to have Steve Briggs who has coached the boys from the 2013 season on. During his six years of coaching the Pioneer boys’ team won the triple crown and had a total of five 2nd place finishes at the state level competition. Steve was a former head coach at the Vic Braden Tennis College in Germany and a Head Tennis Pro at several country clubs including Denver, Colorado, and Moline Illinois. He has also trained two Top 50 ATP tour players as well as numerous sectional ranked junior players. Before he came to coach at Maharishi School Steve was a 3-year varsity member of the team at the University of Arizona.

Match reports

Both of our coaches have been asked to write a report about the match from their point of view. We will be hearing from them after home games and this blog will be updated accordingly. You can also find more photos and scores from our Pioneer Tennis team at the Maharishi School instagram and facebook pages.

Steve Briggs’ Summary


pioneer boys tennis teamThe Pioneers opened the season with a gut churning victory over Mt Pleasant at the Punj Center yesterday.
But first a story from 2018, the last time the Pioneers took the court as a team.
April, 2018, Burlington

Fifteen minutes into Devan Burke’s rookie match as a Pioneer, the former Swedish boarding student complained, “Coach, I have no idea what I’m doing out here.” Devan came from behind to win that maiden match before going on to become one of the winningest players in Pioneer history (2 time district champ, state runner-up in doubles).

The Pioneers are two weeks into the 2021 season and I’ve already told Devan’s story twice. Why? Because every guy on our team is in the same
 boat Devan was in at Burlington’s Dankwardt Park three years ago.
March 30, 2021, Punj Center, Fairfield
Playing in typically blustery March conditions, the Pioneers took the court for the first time since Devan played in the state championship match in 2018.  Our opponent, Mt Pleasant, is a school that has produced a number of quality players over the years.
Every team develops a unique personality characterized by leaders and supporting players, but the identity of our fledgling squad is a work in progress. Just 24 hours before the Mt. Pleasant match, two of our players requested that they play lower on the lineup than their ability suggested, and a third boy wasn’t sure he belonged in the lineup at all. I told the boys, “this isn’t a democracy but I’m okay with adjusting the lineup.” Rather than assume the team lacked confidence, I decided that humility would become part of our team’s core identity.
Sports has arguably generated more cliched phrases than any other walk of American life. Coaches rely on the same trite phrases year after year. One of my favorites is: “Nobody remembers how you start, they only remember how you finish.”
That axiom proved to be the reason James Nyugen earned “Player of the Match”  honors along with his doubles partner, Budhil ThijmJames started poorly in his match and could have thrown in the towel (see how easy the cliches flow) but when he was reminded that the team needed his point, he launched a come from behind victory that proved pivotal to the outcome of the match.
Playing one court over, Pioneer #2 Budhil Thijm got off to the best start of the day, dominating his mammoth opponent, Jack Schimmelpfenig (shining penny) 6-0, 7-5. Big Jack stands 6’4” and weighs nearly as much as James and Budhil combined. Jack, a 2 way mainstay on the Mt Pleasant football team, has great touch for a big guy, but Budhil played with impressive focus as he moved Jack around the court.
At #1 singles, Romil Patel overcame a poor 2nd set to win in 3 sets, and Dominic Dupoux played with a lot of poise for a first timer in his win at #5.
After singles play, the Pioneers held a commanding 4-2 lead and it appeared that we would cruise to victory the way Pioneer teams have for the past 30 years. But the Panthers weren’t ready to head home. Surviving 2 match points, the Mt P  #2 doubles evened the team score at 4-4.
It was up to our #1 team, James and Budhil, to clinch the decisive point. After falling behind 5-2 in the deciding tiebreak, the Pioneers won the final 8 points of the match as daylight faded and spectators’ shivered.
If our inexperienced squad continues to improve the way Devan Burke did, the Pioneers return to the courts after a 3 year absence will be fun to watch.
The Pioneers are in action against a veteran Keokuk squad on April 8th at the Punj Center.
Match Results:

#1  Romil Patel  defeated  David Nyugen  6-2, 1-6, (10-1)
#2  Budhil Thijm defeated Jack Schimmelpfenig   6-0, 7-5
#3  James Nyugen defeated Owen van Sickel 2-6, 6-4 (10-6)
#4  Jayanta Wegman lost to Levi Graber 6-2, 6-4
#5  Dominic Dupoux defeated  Link Henrickson  7-5, 6-2
#6 William Nyugen lost to  Brian Hyunh 6-4, 5-7 (10-7)
#1  Budhil/James   defeated  Nyugen/Schicmmepfenig  9-8 (10-5)
#2  Romil/Jayanta lost to van Sickel/Graber 9-7
#3  Dominic/William   lost to  Henrickson/Hyunh 8-1

Lawrence Eyres’ Summary


pioneer girls tennis teamMaharishi School girls’ tennis team played their first match in two years and won 9-0 versus West Burlington/Burlington Notre Dame at the Punj outdoor courts today.
Team captain Lily Fenton (11)  won her #1 singles match 8-1 and teamed with Ishita Mukadam (9) to win a come-from-behind #1 doubles thriller 8-6.
“Our players adjusted well to windy conditions and found ways to balance their opening day excitement with the need to keep the ball in play.” -Coach Eyre
Other winners for the Pioneers include Vaisnavii Mohanraj (11) 8-3 at #2 singles and 8-5 at #2 doubles with Daira Queveda-Valls (9); Sara Queveda-Valls (10)
8-1 at #3 singles and 8-2 at #3 doubles with Evelyn Ding (10).
Pioneers’ next match will be Monday, April 12, when they host Centerville at 4:15 pm.
Ishita Mukadam won 8-0 at #4 singles
Daira Queveda-Valls won 8-4 at #5 singles
Evelyn Ding  won 8-3 at #6 singles

Steve Briggs’ Summary


On an idyllic April afternoon, Fairfield’s cross-town rivals delivered some quality tennis beneath a brilliant azure sky.

Maharishi School defeated FHS to improve their record to 3-1 for the season.

“FHS played us close, but our boys have been putting in the work and it showed today,” observed Pioneer coach, Steve Briggs. “Doubles has been a work in progress for us. We had 3 new doubles teams out there and the boys had to figure things out on the fly.”
Romil Patel led the Pioneer assault at the top of the lineup, overwhelming FHS 3 year varsity mainstay, Blake Holden. “Romil is finding his game… playing with confidence and that has a domino effect throughout the lineup,” noted Briggs.
James Nguyen played his best match of the season, defeating former teammate, Jeremy Goodale, at #2 singles. “James has such quick hands that sometimes he relies on it too much, but today he was solid everywhere… James served well, played consistently from the backcourt, and won most of the exchanges at the net. We’re really pleased with Jame’s progress. He kept his focus and played with a lot of purpose today,” said Briggs.
Having won all 4 of his matches in straight sets, Budhil Thijm is the Pioneer’s lone undefeated singles player for the season. Once again, Budhil’s intelligent play kept his opponent off balance. “Budhil’s the hardest worker on the team by a fair distance,”noted Briggs. “If he’s not happy with a particular shot, he stays after practice and works on it… every day… weekends too.”
“Our top 3 players push each other in practice because they’re so evenly matched. It’s been great for the team and now that we have Polo Altinski-Ross back in the lineup, I think we’ll see him pushing Romil, James, and Budhil.”
The #4 position proved to be the pivotal match. Polo Altinski-Ross was playing just his second varsity match and his gritty opponent, Garrett Flanagan, kept raising his play as the match reached a critical stage. Leading 6-4, 5-2, Polo discovered that crossing the finish line isn’t always easy, especially when facing an opponent as determined as Flanagan.
“Polo had a baptism by fire today and he survived the ritual,” said Briggs. After dropping the second set in a tiebreaker, the momentum shifted to Flanagan’s side of the court, but Altinski-Ross was up to the test, winning the final set super breaker, 10-8. The win gave the Pioneers a commanding 4-2 lead heading into doubles.
“With 3 newly formed doubles teams, we weren’t sure how it would play out, but the teams communicated well. Chemistry is a big part of doubles as is familiarity with your partner. There were a few miscues out there today, but nothing that concerns me,” observed Briggs. “If our doubles continue to improve we’ll be in good shape by May.”
The Pioneers won #1 and #2 doubles in convincing fashion to seal the 6-3 victory for the team.
steve briggs   
#1  Romil Patel  def  Blake Holden  6-1, 6-2
#2  James Nguyen def Jeremy Goodale 6-2, 6-1
#3  Budhil Thijm def Brecken Courtright 6-2, 6-1
#4 Polo Altinski-Ross def Garrett Flanagan 6-4, 6-7, (10-8)
#5 Jayanta Wegman lost to Jace Hannes 6-4, 4-6, (10-5)
#6 Dominic DuPoux lost to Tristan Paton 6-4, 6-3
#1 Patel/Thijm def Holden/Goodale 6-2, 7-6
#2  Nguyen/Altinski-Ross def Courtright/Paton 6-1, 6-3
#3 DuPoux/Wegman  lost to   Flanagan/Hannes 6-3, 6-4

The following match report is for an away game, Maharishi School Pioneers versus Keokuk.

Lawrence Eyres’ Summary


Pioneer Girls Top Centerville 6-3
Season record 2-0. Next event: Fort Madison Invitational Saturday, April 17.
“An athletic, senior-laden Centerville squad challenged our young team today. I’m proud our girls raised their level of play and came away with a 6-3 win.” Coach Lawrence Eyre
Team captain Lily Fenton (11) prevailed in a barnburner at #1 singles 8-7 (8-6);
Lily teamed with Ishita Mukadam (9) for an 8-6 win at #1 doubles.
Ishita Mukadam, Sara Valls (10) and Evelyn Ding (10) also posted singles wins for the Pioneers. In doubles #3 team  Sara Valls and Bella Castle (10) trailed 1-4 but roared back to win 8-4 and clinch the team victory for the Pioneers. “I love how our #3 doubles girls battled back–they never gave up.”

Steve Briggs’ Summary


Waiting for the road construction crew to waive us through on our way to Keokuk delayed but didn’t reverse the outcome of the Pioneers previous match with the Chiefs.

“Having lost a close match (5-4) to Keokuk at home, we knew it wasn’t going to be any easier at their place,” observed Steve Briggs. “They were better 1-4. That was pretty obvious.”
Keokuk has possibly the most idiosyncratic courts on the planet. Often referred to as the ‘Lego Courts,’ the plastic? purple and green surface looks a bit like a two-tone waffle or quirky breakfast cereal from Boulder, Colorado. The surface is both slippery and unpredictable.
 Five minutes into Budhil Thijm’s match against Ivan Lopez, a lanky Spaniard whose family moved to Keokuk for an educational sabbatical, Ivan lost his footing and bloodied his knee.
Crafting clever points, Budhil had built a 4-1 lead when Lopez’ backhand sailed a foot beyond the baseline. Lopez’ mom cheered loudly, causing Ivan to question whether his shot was in. After Budhil confirmed that the shot was out, Ivan cast a bemused smile at his mom, who was grinning ear to ear.
“I looked over at Mamma Lopez,” said Briggs. “She was clapping because it was a great point but Ivan thought she was clapping because he’d won the point. Realizing that his mom was cheering even though he’d lost the point, Ivan cast a bemused grin in my direction, turned his palms up, and started to laugh. It turned out to be the highlight of the match.”
The moment of mirth proved pivotal for Lopez who went on to capture the first set tiebreaker before dominating the second set.
The meet ended minutes before sunset. The disappointment of the Pioneers 6-3 defeat faded faster than the remaining daylight. After raiding a nearby Hy-Vee the Pioneers headed home. Hunger and thirst held at bay, the boys noticed my cottage cheese and wanted to know how long I’d been a vegetarian. “50 years,” I replied. “Why?” my co-pilot asked. I answered with a question. “Did you know that the strongest animals on the planet eat a plant based diet. It’s true… silverback gorillas, elephants, and horses are all grazers.”
After various dietary perspectives were discussed, the conversation turned to global politics. It was possibly the first time the topic has been discussed with calm and clarity since the dawn of man. Had I recorded the conversation most of America would have benefitted.
I’ve never nominated an opposing team’s player or his parent for Pioneer Player of the Match, but Ivan Lopez deserves recognition as does Mama Lopez for their priceless reaction to a lost point.
#1 Romil lost to  Haner 6-3, 6-2
#2 James  lost to  Takes 6-3, 6-1
#3 Budhil lost to  Lopez 7-6, 6-1
#4 Polo lost to  Stoneking 6-3, 6-3
#5 Jayanta defeated Thompson 6-2, 6-4
#6 Dominic defeated Worster 6-2, 6-1
#1  Romil/Budhil lost to  2 & 4 6-4, 6-4
#2  James/Polo  lost to  1 & 3  6-4, 6-2
#3  Jayanta/Dominic defeated 5 & 6 6-7, 6-1 (9)

Steve Briggs’ Summary


The Pioneers got back to their winning ways with yet another down-to-the wire 5-4 win over US-34 rival Mt Pleasant.
If you like thrillers, you’re guaranteed to find one at the Punj Center. The Pioneers boys team followed the script perfectly, keeping everyone in suspense until the final ball was struck.
“Like our earlier match with Mt Pleasant, four matches went to a deciding tiebreaker,” said Coach Briggs. “Last time we won 3 out of 4 tiebreaks. This time they went the other way.  Even though we didn’t win the close ones, our boys played better today than two weeks ago. We couldn’t be happier with the result.”
“Every meet different guys step up to get big wins for us,” said Briggs. “Today, it was Jayanta and Dominic who earned the deciding point. Dominic and Jay have only played together a couple of times, but they’re learning quickly.”
In the singles play, once again Budhil Thijm got the Pioneers on the scoreboard early.  “Budhil matched up well with his opponent last time so we were happy to see that matchup again today. “Romil Patel and Dominic DuPoux earned the Pioneer’s other singles points, sending the match to doubles with the score tied at 3-3.
James Nguyen appeared exhausted after singles, but he and partner Polo Altinski-Ross bounced back from their singles losses to win convincingly at #2 doubles. The Pioneers nearly swept the doubles when #1 team Romil Patel and Budhil Thijm reached match point before losing.
Briggs added: “When I asked James after the match if his tank was empty, he replied, ‘It’s all mind over matter.’ I liked hearing that because we emphasize perseverance.”
The Pioneer Player of the Match is Dominic DuPoux, the lone Pioneer to secure 2 points in the match.

“We had a chance to clinch the match in singles, but Mt Pleasant outplayed us in the third set tiebreakers at #3 and #4,” observed Briggs. “James and Polo battled, but the steady play of their opponents down the stretch made the difference.”

“Dominic demands a lot from himself, but I reminded the boys the other day that even the great Roger Federer has only won 54% of the points he’s played as a professional. You’re not going to win every point. It’s more a matter of winning the key points,” noted Briggs.

The Pioneers are back in action Saturday when they host the Pioneer Invitational at the Punj Center. If you

need a little drama in your life, the Pioneers will be happy to provide it but you’ll need to bring your own popcorn and maybe something to settle the Pioneer coach’s stomach.

#1   Romil  def  David Nguyen  3-6, 6-3, (10-5)
#2   Budhil  def Jack Schimmelpfenig 6-0, 6-0
#3   James lost to Owen van Sickel 5-7, 6-3 (10-8)
#4  Polo lost to Levi Braber 6-3, 1-6 (10-8)
#5 Jayanta lost to  Lincoln Henrickson 6-1, 6-0
#6   Dominic def Jake Ensminger 6-4, 6-4
#1 Romil/Budhil lost to Schimmelpfenig/van Sickel   9-8 (7-0)
#2    James/Polo def Nguyen/Hunh     8-4
#3    Jayanta/Dominic  def Henricksen/Ensminger 8-5



Lawrence Eyres’ Summary


Snowed out last Monday
Scorcher today welcome to
Iowa tennis
Maharishi School girls’ tennis upped their dual meet record to 3-0 with an
8-1 win at home over Keokuk today. The Pioneers swept singles play and won 2 of 3 doubles matches.
Ishita Mukadam blanked her opponent 8-0 at #2 singles and teamed with Lily Fenton to claim an 8-2 victory at #1 doubles.
“Ninth-grader Mika Rodriguez played three consecutive JV singles matches and won them all.” Coach Lawrence Eyre  “She wins our Marathon Award today.”
The Pioneers will compete at Saturday’s Grayhound Invitational at Dankwardt Park in Burlington.

Steve Briggs’ Summary


Pioneer Boy’s Tennis Invitational

Gusting winds whipped balls about the court, but despite the testy conditions the Pioneers never took their eye off the ball as they pulled away from the field to win the Pioneer Invitational over Albia, Davis County, and Fairfield HS. The Pioneers racked up a commanding 103 points. FHS finished 2nd with 85 points. Davis County and Albia each earned 56 points on the day.

“Conditions were tricky at best,” said Pioneer coach, Steve Briggs, “30+ mph winds are difficult, but everyone faces the same challenge on days like today. We try to lock into every shot, but it’s not so easy.”
As expected, the best matches of the day pitted the Maharishi Pioneers against Fairfield HS in doubles. In the #1 flight, James and Polo defeated the Trojan duo of Jeremy Goodale and Blake Holden 6-3, giving the Pioneers 1st place with an aggregate of 29 games while FHS scored 26. “Our guys raised their level when it counted and that takes confidence. A week ago the self belief wasn’t where it is now,” said Briggs.
In the 2nd flight of doubles, the Pioneer duo of Jayanta and Dominic also saved their best tennis for Fairfield, narrowly winning 5-4. Fairfield’s team came up with some outstanding reaction volleys and winning serves after the Pioneers had built a 5-2 lead. “Our guys need to be consistently aggressive. In doubles, if you don’t finish the other team will,” observed Briggs. “Closing out matches is a learning process. We’re getting there.”
In singles play, seniors Romil Patel and Budhil Thijm have led the Pioneers all season and they continued that trend today. Romil lapped the field by winning 31 out of a possible 36 games while Budhil lost just 4 games on the day.  “We know what to expect from our seniors,” noted Briggs. “They play solid tennis day in and day out.”
The Pioneer Players of the Match are Romil and Budhil in singles and James and Polo in doubles.
The Pioneers are in action against Davis County on Tuesday at the Punj Center.
Individual Results 
#1 singles — Romil Patel 1st place
#2 singles — Budhil Thijm 1st place
#1 doubles — James Nguyen/Polo Altinski-Ross 1st place
#2 doubles — Jayanta Wegman/Dominic DuPoux 3rd place
Team Results — Total Games Won
Maharishi   — 103
Fairfield  — 85
Davis County — 56
Albia — 56

Lawrence Eyres’ Summary


All six singles players recorded wins as the Pioneers finished 4th in Burlington’s Grayhound Invitational Saturday.  Lily Fenton brought home silver as runner-up in the #1 singles flight.

Fairfield High School won the team trophy with 18 points. Camanche was 2nd with 14, followed by Davis County with 10, the Pioneers with 9 and host Burlington with 7. Burlington Notre Dame finished sixth.
Maharishi School’ will host the Pioneer Invitational Saturday, May 8 at the Punj Tennis Center.

Lawrence Eyres’ Summary


pioneer tennis

Maharishi School girls’ tennis finished 2nd in the round-robin Pioneer Invitational today at the Punj TennisCenter. Lily Felton (17 games won)  and Ishita Mukadam (19 games won) earned silver medals in their #1 singles and #2 singles flights; the Valls sisters Sara and Daira won 11 games at #1 doubles; Bella Castle, Yeobseca Tafesse and Mika Rodriguez won 11 games competing at #2 doubles.
                                                                       Team standings:
1st Davis County               74 games won
2nd Maharishi School     58 games won
3rd Centerville                  49 games won
4th Albia                             35 games won
“Our young team has been improving with each event this season. We look forward to competing in Burlington Monday [May 10] versus Notre Dame.” Coach Lawrence Eyre

Steve Brigg’s Summary


Ideal conditions prevailed for the district tennis meet yielding plenty of quality tennis at the FF Middle School courts Wednesday as 7 area teams plus a newcomer battled one another to advance to the state tournament. The newbie happened to be the defending state 1-A champs, Cedar Rapids Xavier, who dominated the event, amassing 30 points. Keokuk finished 2nd and Centerville 3rd with 13 and 9 points respectively. The Pioneers finished tied for 5th place with 7 points.

The Pioneer’s disappointing result had less to do with the bounce of a tennis ball than it did a can full of ping pong balls.
Eight head coaches huddled together in the FF Middle School weight room with a box of pink frosted donuts and an egg carton full of white ping pong balls with a black number on each ball. Aside from the top 4 singles and doubles seeds, the fate of the other 36 players entered in the tournament depended on their coaches’ ability to extract a lucky ball from a rusty can. An archaic method to be sure, but a fair one…
“I’ve been drawing balls from that can for 7 or 8 years now and my method is totally random,” laughed Coach Briggs. “Some years we’ve been lucky… other years we’ve nearly lost the meet before taking the court because of a silly white ball. Today was by far my worst effort. My selections literally cost us any chance of advancing in the postseason.”
Some coaches are superstitious. Davis County’s coach blew into his hand each time his turn came up, proclaiming ‘this is how I do it at the casino.’ The DC coach’s method proved far from perfect as his team finished last and scored a meager 2 points on the day.
The Pioneer’s first drawing paired Budhil Thijm against the tournament’s #1 seed, Abbot Haner, who went on to win the event.
“The odds of drawing the top seed are about 16%,” said Briggs, “but I managed to pick the worst possible ball for Budhil. As Budhil and Haner warmed up, I walked around the courts and noted that Budhil could have probably beaten 11 or 12 of the 16 players. Fortunately, our other singles player, Romil Patel, received the #2 seed and so his fate was in his own hands as seeded players don’t participate in the ping pong process.”
Romil easily dispatched Fort Madison’s Kadim Medland 6-0, 6-1 before facing a stiffer challenge from Keokuk #2, Callum Tackes. “I think being seeded #2 was a bit of a shock for Romil. To be a high seed puts a target on your back and you definitely feel the pressure.”
Romil dropped the first set and quickly fell behind 3-1 in the second before finding his game. Patel advanced to the semi-finals with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win thanks to some dominant net play and timely serves down the stretch.
In his semi-final match, Romil faced Xavier’s top singles entrant, Trent Link. Again, Romil started slowly, losing the opening set 6-1 before playing Link evenly for the first 8 games of the second set. “Xavier’s guy hit with a lot of power which caused Romil problems at the start, but in the 2nd set Romil had his chances. Romil’s been solid all spring. He’s come from behind plenty of times. He’s been our leader all year.”
Romil is the Pioneer Player of the Match for the 2021 district tournament.
Although the ping-pong ball selections didn’t do the Pioneers any favors in doubles, both Pioneer teams played inspired tennis against higher-ranked opponents. The Pioneers #3 team of Jayanta Wegman and Dominic DuPoux’s match against Mount Pleasant’s #1 duo was the last match to finish in round one. “Jay and Dom had a good couple days of practice before the tournament and so I felt they were going to give someone problems. They lost a close one to a Mt Pleasant team that beat our #1 doubles team a few weeks back.”
Regardless of who James Nguyen and Polo Altinski-Ross play, they always bring a lot of energy to the court. The Pioneer duo topped Mt Pleasant 6-2, 6-2 before facing the #3 seeds, a veteran Xavier team in the 2nd round.
“Xavier has a ton of experience from winning state in 2019 in addition to facing perennial powers like Iowa City West and CR Washington in their conference,” said Briggs. “Our guys played well against Xavier and they now believe they can eventually get to that level.”
And so the Pioneers ended their 2021 journey with a 5-2 dual meet record in addition to 1st place finishes in the Ottumwa and Pioneer Invitationals. Their 5th place district finish ended a run of six consecutive district titles for the Pioneers.
“The season’s been a good one… really a great group of guys who represent our school with class,” said Briggs. “We’ll practice until the school year ends and have a team celebration next week. We’ll create some wonky (weird) games and go for pizza. Some of the guys have already earned their pizza. I’m even thinking of drawing ping pong balls for free pizza. I don’t go to casinos so I’m not very good at this stuff. Hopefully, by next May, I’ll figure out how to pull the right ball from the can.”

Lawrence Eyres’ Summary


tennis pioneers maharishi school sports   Pioneer girls finished their dual match season with a 5-1 record today, bowing out of postseason team play with a 5-3 loss to Oskaloosa.
Pioneers earned a 3-3 split in singles after a 2 1/2 hour battle highlighted by wins from #1 Lily Fenton (6-0, 7-5); #2 Ishita Mukadam (5-7, 6-4 [10-5] ); and #4 Sara Valls (6-2, 6-4).
Oskaloosa clinched the team win in doubles, with victories at #2 and #3
(6-2, 6-1 for both matches). Pioneers’ #1 Lily Fenton and Ishita Mukadam led   6-4, 3-2 when play was suspended.
“Our girls all improved during competition today. Our first-year player Ishita Mukadam staged a remarkable comeback at #2 singles. Trailing 5-7, 1-4, she won 5 straight games to take the 2nd set and scored a convincing win in the match tiebreak to send us into the doubles tied with senior-laden Oskaloosa. I’m proud of our whole young team.” Lawrence Eyre
The Pioneers will play singles and doubles in the regional individual tournament
Wednesday (5/19) at Fairfield Middle School.

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Missing Maharishi School Tennis? We Have Too!

History of Tennis

maharishi school tennis champions

Tennis is one of the predominant sports at Maharishi School. Our Pioneer tennis program is renowned in Iowa for 20 State Championships–singles (9), doubles (6) and team tennis (5). Maharishi School is the only Iowa high school to win three Triple Crowns (1999, 2000, 2014) winning State Singles, Doubles, and Team titles in the same year. It’s also true that Maharishi School is the only Iowa high school to win consecutive Triple Crowns–1999 and 2000. Needless to say we love tennis!

Our four indoor courts and our outstanding coaches provide a path to excellence and several of our graduates have gone on to compete at the university level.

On-court success can be measured in another way, beyond wins and losses. We have a proud tradition of exemplary sportsmanship, of demonstrating our school’s Core Values of Respect and Responsibility, even in the heat of competition. That is social and emotional fitness, another factor in a well-balanced, integrated life.

Tennis tournament in Fairfield

Maharishi School didn’t get to have a spring tennis season at all this year due to the coronavirus, so our Head of School Dr. Richard Beall organized a fun and competitive tournament! This way everyone who missed out on the previous season could join together with the addition of teachers, alumni and community members. Here are some pictures of those who participated in the event.


maharishi school girls sportsmaharishi school alumni tennismaharishi school boys sportsmaharishi school tennis

Click here to see more pictures from the event on our Flickr account!

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

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Shristi Attends University of Iowa Hackathon

Shristi attended the University of Iowa Hackathon for high school students at North Liberty High School. This is the first hackathon of UoI for high schoolers. There were seven teams: five teams with four students each, one team with three students, and one all girls team of two students – Shristi and a 9th grader from North Liberty High School whom Shristi met the previous day and formed a group.

All teams were given time from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm to work on their projects and show to the judges at the end of the day. It was a fierce competition because other teams had senior and experienced programmers in their teams who worked on Big Data and Artificial Intelligence projects for this competition.

Suresh Sharma, Shristi’s father, had this to say:

“I was not expecting anything from Shristi’s team because they were competing against bigger and experienced teams. Shristi’s team was clueless when they started and in the beginning had no idea of the project, but finally, they came up with a very creative idea of creating an interactive map of major historical events during a specific period. Seeing the competition I was not expecting top three positions from Shristi’s team. I thought that if they were lucky, they might get a third place. When they announced the award, I was shocked and delighted that they got first place.”

Shristi and her teammate got first place because of the creativity, innovate thinking, and programming skills. It was a simple idea, but the judges hadn’t ever seen this type of thing before because it didn’t exist. The judges strongly encouraged Shristi to keep developing this idea and pitch this to Smithsonian. It was great and very satisfying to see Shristi’s progress.


-by Suresh Sharma



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Hannah Nichols
Marketing and PR
Maharishi School
Fairfield, IA 52556