Akira Morgenstern spent his time at Sidwell Friends honing his tennis game. Thanks to an adventure with friends, he’s now in peak physical condition, too.

Morgenstern and a couple of buddies decided, on a whim, to train for a sprint triathlon last month — that’s a half-mile swim, a 15-mile bike ride and a five-kilometer run, all in 90 minutes. The senior credited that decision for his stamina as he won the D.C. State Athletic Association boys’ singles title with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Field School junior Davis Wiley on Friday at Southeast Tennis and Learning Center.

“The match I just watched him play is the most complete match I’ve seen him play all year,” Sidwell Coach Logan West said. “And as we’ve gone along, each match he’s gotten progressively stronger. He’s started to play smarter, to construct points better.”

Morgenstern completed his first triathlon remotely because of pandemic concerns, but he intends to enter an official race this summer. It’ll be part of a busy year for the senior, who’s off to play at Georgetown next season.

In the meantime, Morgenstern has national tournaments on his mind for this summer, first on clay courts and then on hard courts. As he looks to become a more complete player to prepare for the step up in competition, this week was a promising sign.

“The biggest thing that I’ve improved on is essentially making my game bigger by expanding my arsenal of shots, trying to become an all-court player,” he said. “My groundstrokes, volley, serve — I’ve just put an equal amount of emphasis on everything.”

Sidwell freshman takes girls’ title

Playing more like a senior than a freshman, Sidwell’s Molly Evans won the girls’ singles title, 6-1, 6-1, over Eva Doomes of St. John’s. Evans was nearly flawless as she volleyed at the net at times but also retreated to keep points alive with long shots from behind the baseline.

“I think I’ve played pretty aggressive and stuck to my game,” she said. “My serve has definitely been a strength in this tournament.”

The title capped a challenging first year of high school spent learning entirely online. The remote learning experience has been “a little isolating,” Evans said, but she noted that it helped her tennis game. With a streamlined school schedule and no commute, she had more time to practice.

She also has a full schedule planned for the summer, so Friday’s title may be just the beginning.

“She’s got a very steady style of play,” West said. “She doesn’t really go up and down a lot. She’s very methodical and very mentally tough. She doesn’t get fazed, whether her opponent hits a winner or she makes an error. She resets for the next point, and that’s going to serve her well over the next three years.”

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