Sidwell Friends senior Jacob Walker did not have to play high school tennis.
A nationally ranked junior since middle school, Walker could have focused solely on competing in U.S. Tennis Association tournaments like other players of his caliber. But playing for the Quakers was an opportunity he did not want to miss.
On Thursday at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, Walker, last season’s All-Met Player of the Year, concluded his high school tennis career with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Wilson freshman Will Coad to finish both his junior and senior seasons without dropping a set.
As he reflected on his four-year career with Sidwell after the win, Walker was confident he had made the right decision.
“It’s just been super fun, honestly,” said Walker, who started playing tennis at age 8. “Tennis clearly is an individual sport, but for me, being part of a team is the best part of it. . . . It really made me look forward to college tennis because I realized how great the team atmosphere is. It’s just been a really, really fun ride.”
Led by Walker, a Brown commit, the Quakers dominated the second annual D.C. State Athletic Association tournament in Southeast Washington, defending both their boys’ and girls’ team titles and winning all four finals contested Thursday. Wilson was second in the boys’ team competition, while Georgetown Visitation was the runner-up for the girls’ title.
Walker was able to dictate points against the big-serving Coad by hitting deep shots to the freshman’s backhand. Walker wrapped up the match in less than 45 minutes, using his defense to outlast his opponent in long rallies and forcing Coad into several unforced errors.
“It’s just a lot of footwork that I think I’ve gotten really solid,” Walker said. “I just really don’t make a lot of unforced errors.”
Earlier in the day, Walker teamed with junior Henry Wessel to beat Wilson’s duo of Coad and senior Marko Williams, 8-5, to claim the boys’ doubles title. Sidwell senior Caroline Monahan and sophomore Alexandra Zhang beat Visitation juniors Margaret Railey and Catherine Sport, 8-4, to win the girls’ doubles title.
Monahan, who will play tennis at Harvard, also took home the girls’ singles title with a 6-0, 6-3 victory over National Cathedral junior Lizzie Baker in a rematch of last year’s final won by Baker.
The tournament also marked the last match for Quakers Coach Octavio Delasobera, who will retire after three years in charge of both the girls’ and boys’ tennis teams.
“It was a great way to end high school tennis,” Monahan said. “This tournament was a great opportunity to combine both teams and to grow closer and to become one bigger family.”