As Sidwell Friends sophomore Michael Zhang posed with his D.C. State Athletic Association tennis trophy, his fellow Quaker Claire Wolstencroft was on the nearest court meeting her opponent at the net for handshakes.
Zhang and Wolstencroft won their DCSAA singles championships just minutes apart on Thursday at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center in Washington, a near-perfect moment in what was a perfect day for Sidwell’s tennis program.
“It was really a culmination of a lot of time and effort, for both of them and for the team,” Sidwell Coach Logan West said. “To have them come through in the finals like that, moments apart, was really special.”
Sidwell captured both the boys’ and girls’ team titles for the fourth time in five years and swept the four individual championship matches. The Quakers finished first in the team rankings ahead of Georgetown Day (boys) and National Cathedral (girls).
“We got everything right,” Zhang said. “I don’t know how much better we could have done to be honest.”
Zhang defeated Georgetown Day junior Rex Audeh in the boys’ final, which went to a decisive 10-point tiebreak after they split the first two sets, 6-2, 4-6. Zhang won the tiebreaker, 10-4. The match came just a week after they faced each other in the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference semifinals. That match also went to a tiebreaker.
Wolstencroft, a junior, defeated National Cathedral’s Yvonne Lopez, 6-3, 6-3. It had been a few months since Wolstencroft had played for Sidwell, as the private school girls’ season is in the fall. But she looked steady Thursday, closing out each set with confidence.
Wolstencroft transferred to Sidwell at the beginning of this school year from Connecticut and used tennis as a way to grow more comfortable in her new surroundings.
“I was kind of thrown on to the team but I could tell right away that these girls were really good and focused,” she said. “Coupled with that, they were really nice which makes winning as an individual even better because you’re supported by your team.”
The boys’ doubles final matched teammates against each other as Zhang and freshman Teli Bezianis defeated seniors Nico Pastor and Will Faulks, 8-3. On the girls’ side, Wolstencroft and junior Emma Rippey defeated the St. John’s pairing of Amber Brown and Zoe Walker, 8-5.
The DCSAA began holding tennis championships in 2015, and the Quakers have established themselves as the program to beat by sweeping team titles four of the past five years.
“It takes a lot of mental toughness in this event. I tell them to just be ready for anything,” West said. “We put it in a lot of work so they just have to go out and trust their strokes and everything will be fine. They’ve come out here and done that.”