The Washington Post

Rivals Jackson-reed, School Without Walls end day with two titles apiece

- BY AARON CREDEUR

As Jane Sargent took the court for her doubles match Monday at Fort Lincoln Park, she was thankful for the chance to play — and eager to take on a rival.

Following two years of canceled competitio­n amid the pandemic, the freshman wasn’t sure she would have a chance to play at all. And as a new member of the team at Jackson-reed (formerly known as Wilson), she wasn’t expecting to be fighting for a D.C. Interschol­astic Athletic Associatio­n title against her school’s biggest rival, School Without Walls.

“Originally, I was put on the team as a backup player, so I was kind of surprised that I was put in this tournament,” Sargent said. “I know they have really good tennis at [School Without Walls], so I was kind of scared by them. But my partner and I are freshmen, so we were both kind of scared together. That made it a little bit better.”

Grabbing an early lead helped Sargent and Stella Pucher get over their nerves and focus on staying consistent.

“After our first set we won,” Sargent said, “our coach came up to us after that and said: ‘Okay, you have another six games to play. Don’t think that you’re about to win this whole thing.’ ”

Sargent and Pucher stayed steady to claim the title, 6- 0, 6- 0, over Sophia Desai and Charlie Cole. Jackson-reed also prevailed in boys’ doubles when senior Jonah Frumkin and freshman Roger Beckel beat two of their teammates, Colin Bennett and Benjamin Cole, 6-2, 6-1.

But School Without Walls claimed both singles titles, leaving the rivals neck-and-neck by the end of the day. Sophomore Jadran Saric defeated a sophomore teammate, Henry Banks, to take the boys’ singles title, 6-1, 6-2.

“I was just a bit nervous in a few of my earlier matches,” Saric said. “If I play against a teammate, it’s actually less stressful because I sort of know them and know how they play. So I have more of an idea of what I can expect. So then I just know I need to deliver.”

School Without Walls freshman Gabriella Goldberg won the girls’ final after her opponent from Jackson-reed withdrew because of eligibilit­y concerns.

The finals were dominated by Jackson-reed and School Without Walls, but the tournament featured stronger than usual competitio­n in the earlier rounds. Mckinley Tech, Banneker and Roosevelt signaled that public school programs are looking to raise the bar.

They’ll get a chance to show their skills against the private school powerhouse­s at next week’s D.C. State Athletic Associatio­n championsh­ips. But Jackson-reed and School Without Walls are already looking forward to continuing their rivalry next year.

“It was nice to have some really competitiv­e matches other than just Jackson-reed and Walls. . . . So when you win, it feels better — that you really earned it,” Jackson-reed Coach Christine Dooley said. “It always comes down to [Jackson-reed] and Walls, and we love that because we respect them, we honor them — and we also want to take them down.”

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