Wootton Coach Nia Cresham expects success from her teams and has created a culture of winning since joining the boys’ team in 2008, but that doesn’t mean she takes the victories for granted. These wins are far from guaranteed.
“We’ve won so many titles that I think people just think, ‘Well that’s just Wootton, that’s who they are,’” Cresham said. “But the reality is that everybody is good. … It’s not easy to win all the time.”
The Patriots entered Thursday’s finals tied at 18 points with Churchill, while Whitman trailed by just two points. In the regular season, the Vikings beat the Patriots, 4-3, while the Bulldogs scored a 4-3 win over Whitman. Wootton and Whitman shared last year’s county championships.
But by sweeping doubles, Wootton clinched its first outright title since 2013.
Freshmen Ryan Meyer and Mikey Fellman defeated junior Petar Djekic and sophomore Simon Shockey of Churchill, 6-1, 6-2, at No. 2 doubles, and seniors Eric Feng and Justin Slud beat Churchill freshman Tsach Mackey and senior Joey Sher, 6-3, 6-3, in No. 3 doubles to ensure that the Patriots would be at least guaranteed a share of the title.
More than an hour later, Wootton secured the title for itself when senior Andy Xiao and sophomore Simon Huynh beat Whitman senior Jayson Khaghani and sophomore Leo Esztergomi, 4-6, 7-6 (10-8), 6-2, at No. 1 doubles, to avenge its three-set loss from the regular season.
“It was a big motivation,” Huynh said. “Beating them in counties was more important. We went in and were like, ‘Okay, this is our chance to get back at them and beat them.’”
One of the biggest upsets of the night was at the top-flight singles, where Whitman junior Evin McDonald rallied from a set down and waited out a 15-minute rain relay to beat reigning All-Met Player of the Year Joseph Brailovsky of Wootton, 1-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-2.
The two are good friends and have known each other for nearly a decade, competing at the highest levels of junior and high school tennis. But Brailovsky, a South Carolina signee, has been McDonald’s “kryptonite” and entered Thursday as the winner of all four of their high school matches, including one from earlier this season. McDonald, who verbally committed to Texas in February, credited his confidence for the breakthrough win.
“I’ve played him so many times,” McDonald said. “He knows how to beat me. I sort of have an idea how to win points off him. … It was just really believing I can win even after all the losses the past years, just thinking I can do it.”
In No. 2 singles, Richard Montgomery junior Justin Song defeated Churchill sophomore Josh Robinson, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2; Churchill senior Bennett Yang beat junior Matthew Dubrow of Bethesda-Chevy Chase, 6-2, 6-2, at No. 3 singles; and Whitman sophomore Zach Rosen claimed a 0-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over Wootton sophomore Alex Yeh, at No. 4 singles.
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