Wilson junior Mohamed Ismail was feeling fatigued entering the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association tennis championship final.
Four matches in two days had drained his energy. It began to show in the first set of his match against teammate Francis Dragulet, the defending champion in boys’ singles.
Then Ismail remembered that this would be his last match of the season.
“I started focusing more in the second set,” said the top-seeded Ismail, who rallied for a 5-7, 6-3, 11-9 victory at Banneker Recreation Center on Friday to become the boys’ singles champion. “I knew this would be it for the year, so I got more energy to try to win the match.”
Wilson entered the tournament with the overall team trophy already secured after finishing the regular season with a league-best 5-0 record to claim its third consecutive DCIAA title. School Without Walls finished in second place, while Bell and Cardozo tied for third.
“We always had good teams, but they only consisted of a few good players,” Tigers Coach Andrew Barnes said. “When [Ismail] came to the team [this season], he brought an extra competitiveness — a competitive spirit.”
Wilson had four boys in the semifinals, continuing its dominance in the DCIAA boys’ singles flights in recent years.
In the girls’ singles final, Banneker’s Camra Long wasted no time in dispatching her opponent, Tigers junior Susannah Newell, 6-0, 6-1.
Long had not played Newell in the regular season and was nervous about facing a new opponent. The match had not even started before the freshman realized she was up for the task.
“When I warmed up I started finding her weaknesses,” Long said. “I was hitting to her backhand and hitting my volleys . . . I was really focused today.”
Long’s only loss this season was to School Without Walls freshman Nastasia Tamarkin, and that defeat is serving as motivation for her sophomore campaign.
“Next year I plan to beat School Without Walls and win everything,” she said. “I don’t want to lose anymore.”
The doubles semifinals finished late Friday and the finals between School Without Walls’ Jacob Korn and Divinity Appollon and Banneker’s Blake Mosely and Courtney Thomas will be played on Tuesday.