Stickels gets past Punj on way to state titleSawhney, Nite win doubles title
After finishing third in the Class 1A singles state tournament in 2013, Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment junior Sam Stickels wanted to improve his finish at state this season.
Stickels did just that, grabbing first place and a state title Saturday in Waterloo. Stickels defeated four players over two days in the 16-player field to grab the title, including the No. 1, 2 and 4 ranked players. Jordan Nelson of Red Oak was Stickels’ first victim, falling 6-0, 6-1. Stickels would then defeat Kyle D’Mello of Cedar Rapids Xavier (6-0, 6-2) and No. 1 Sam Jones of Clear Lake (6-4, 7-6 (7-5)) before reaching the final.
None other than Fairfield’s Govi Punj was waiting for Stickels in the finals. Punj, ranked No. 2 coming into competition, defeated Philip Meier of Shenandoah (6-3. 6-1), Caleb Perkins of Iowa Falls-Alden (6-3, 6-4) and Cam Long of Dubuque Wahlert (6-3, 6-4) to reach the finals.
Punj was unable to duplicate his victory over Stickels in the regional qualifying match, and was forced to settle for second. Stickels took the match 6-2, 6-2.
“I was concerned that Sam’s road to the finals was taking a toll, but Sam saved his finest performance of the year for the season’s biggest match,” MSAE coach Steve Briggs said. “When Sam’s game is firing on all cylinders, you just sit back and enjoy the show.”
MSAE wasn’t done however. The doubles team of Solaris Nite and Surya Sawhney would win a state title of their own. The duo lived up to its No. 1 ranking and defeated two members of the St. Edmond Fort Dodge team, which won the team state title last season, for the title.
Nite and Sawhney dominated the team of Zach Gailey and John Eide, defeating them 6-1, 6-1 after beating their St. Edmond’s teammates in the semi-final matchup. The Pioneers only lost one set total at the meet.
“Surya and Solaris played superb doubles today,” Briggs said. “They’ve had a great year, but I wasn’t expecting the domination. Our guys never wavered under the pressure.”
MSAE will compete in the team competition on Tuesday.