Sidwell girls’ tennis is up to snuff; McNamara boys football starts 7-0

On the morning of what was supposed to be a tough game against the National Cathedral, Alice Xu took six anti-inflammatory pills to help her get into shape. The Sidwell Friends No. 1 singles player has been battling a shoulder injury since last season, and while she felt a bit compromised, she knew that beating the National Cathedral – who won the DC Championship State Athletic Association in the spring – would take a big push.

Xu lost the first two games of this match on September 13 to National Cathedral’s Hayley Shay, but after talking with her teammates, the senior felt revitalized.

“I was very in my head at first, thinking, ‘I’m tired, I don’t feel well,'” Xu said. “But after playing and you focus on what you need to do for your team and for yourself and stop focusing on the things you can’t do, it really allowed me to find a solution rather than just, like, moping around on the court.

Xu rallied to win the match 10-3, and Sidwell picked up a 5-2 win to continue a strong start for a team looking to defend their Interstate School League title.

“We knew National Cathedral was obviously going to be a step up in the competition,” said Sidwell coach Logan West. “They are the defending champions, and I definitely made sure to let the girls know that. And that was definitely something on our radar that we wanted to win the battle for Wisconsin Avenue and kind of reestablish that we’re the team to beat in DC.

There are plenty of challenges along the way before Sidwell can lift his conference trophy again, including a game this week in Richmond against St. Catherine’s, one of Virginia’s top-ranked teams.

Churchill coach Cay Miller felt Mane Cerda Salazar was a defender. Although this was the position the freshman played in Chile, Miller noticed her shooting and thought she would be better suited as an attacker.

It worked and Cerda Salazar has the second most goals on his list (four) just four months after moving to the United States.

“The pitch is different…but nothing more,” Cerda Salazar said. “In both countries I just try to be the best and play harder.”

After training with the national team in Chile, Cerda Salazar joined the club’s Washington Wolves squad a month after moving to Maryland. At Churchill, she joined a strong group of comebacks, including seniors Grace Jennings, Lexie Levitt and junior Emma Datch. Senior Jordan Lapidus, meanwhile, leads the Bulldogs with five goals and two assists.

The Bulldogs are 3-0 in Tuesday’s County Championship rematch against Bethesda-Chevy Chase. On Thursday, they will face Whitman in a rematch of last year’s 2021 Maryland 4A semi-final, which Churchill won 2-1.

As the second month of fall sports approaches, Bishop McNamara is still striving for perfection. After taking down DeMatha and Eleanor Roosevelt in recent days, the Mustangs are 7-0.

They won in dominant fashion, averaging four goals per game as they navigated a mostly non-conference schedule.

That undefeated start signals a drastic turnaround for a program that ended winless in 2018, the year before coach Mark Brown took over. Even last fall, McNamara stumbled on a five-game losing streak early on. Brown, then in his third season, tried to preach patience, but frustration was inevitable.

“We tried never to let them down,” Brown said. “We told them it was a long season, and it was. In the playoffs, we were ready.

The defining moments came at the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference tournament, as the No. 8-seeded Mustangs suffered a series of upsets in a championship appearance, the first in history. from the program. Despite a 1-0 loss to Good Counsel in the title game, the experience has helped change the Mustangs mentality heading into this season. The return of seven starters from this team also helped.

“Last year was amazing, and we don’t take that for granted,” Brown said. “But I think the players knew we had talent coming back, and they’re on a mission to prove that we’re not just WCAC contenders, but we’re one of the best teams in the state.”

While attending a football showcase in Oceanside, Calif., in June, Caroline Garrard asked her sister, Emily, about her upcoming season at Episcopal.

“Are you excited to be the best player on the pitch?” Caroline asked Emilie.

“I’m not going to be the best player,” Emily replied.

“Well,” Caroline added, “not if you think so.”

That conversation stuck with Emily Garrard and reminded the junior forward of the power of trust. With his renewed mindset, Garrard has scored nine goals in four games, including a hat-trick in Episcopal’s 4-3 win over Elizabeth Seton last week.

“As an undergrad, I found it harder to take more risks shooting and taking on players,” said Garrard, who led Alexandria Private School to a 3-start -1. “Once I got to pre-season I was immediately overwhelmed with the lack of fear of messing things up. I just have to think I’m the best player there.

Last season, Garrard was thrust into a starring role after Episcopal’s top scorer suffered an injury about a month later. While the pressure of excellence affected her growing up, Garrard said she rekindled her love for football in recent years.

“The best part of scoring a goal is running with my teammates,” Garrard said. “It’s just a really good feeling to have everyone so happy.”

The Wootton girls were oddly relaxed at the start line of the Bull Run Invitational.

Perhaps, they thought, it was because this was their first invitation of the season and the high expectations that can cloud a program such as Wootton had not yet formed. Perhaps other events – including going home later that day – were more acute in their minds. But once they took off, they went faster than anyone else on the course, with a senior mind Maya Gottesman described as running with their hearts rather than their brains.

“Knowing that after the races we have the whole day ahead of us, it makes every race not one-dimensional,” said Gottesman, who ranked ninth overall to lead the Patriots on Saturday at Parkton. “Usually after the races we have the whole day ahead of us. You see familiar faces and trainers, so the whole running environment can feel like you’re there to socialize and running is just the bonus.

Although they usually look forward to the post-game ceremony, the top five runners – two seniors, two juniors and a freshman triathlete-turned-cross-country runner – departed ahead of the announcements for the first time in their career, with respective nominations after the race. . They learned the results via text: 74 points for Wootton, 75 for Tuscarora, a closer margin than any coach Kellie Redmond had seen before.

After years of high rankings at the Maryland State meet, the Patriots plan to challenge for the top prize this season.

“We have more runners in the upper part of the university who are closer to each other,” said junior Tori Ketzler. “I think we can do better than last year. [sixth-place finish].”

Bethesda-Chevy Chase junior Varri Higgins (19:11) finished in third place and was the fastest local female racer. Severna Park won bronze and were the best local men’s team, with fourth-placed senior Liam Hagerty (16:26.1) anchoring the Falcons’ tally.

Ahead of Paul VI’s final game in a Saturday quad against undefeated Episcopal, coach Sam Farrar reminded the Panthers of his favorite words from musician Jimmy Buffet: Inhale, exhale, move on. The Panthers needed it because things weren’t going as planned on Saturday or even that week.

During Wednesday’s practice, the team’s starting middle tackle, Grace Maiden, suffered a severe ankle sprain that will sideline her for much of the season. With Maiden sitting on the bench instead of blocking on the pitch, the team struggled to close the 6ft gap and were ruled out by Peninsula Catholic (Newport News) and St. Catherine’s (Richmond) on their two first matches.

Farrar’s pep talk resonated with setter Stephanie Strike, who considers Maiden a close friend. “I realized mentally that even though she’s gone, I have to play for her and keep pushing,” the eldest said.

Inhaling, exhaling and moving on from the day’s previous losses, Strike and the Panthers earned a win over Episcopal. Solid defensive play by junior Lucy Sroka in the back row set the team up for offensive eliminations from outside hitters Angie Desamours, Cate Ross and Sammie Fleetwood, and Paul VI (7-4) took the win with a 15-12 at third Positioner.

The successful end to the day rejuvenated the Panthers’ confidence, which they will need heading into Tuesday’s game against WCAC rival Bishop O’Connell. “If we can survive this week, we can do anything,” Fleetwood said as the team’s final group broke up.

Leave a Reply