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  • Charlotte Tama

Walls Sports – Year in Review

This school year, Walls’ sports teams improved on previous seasons, built foundations for next year, broke records, and even made history. With the school year ending, let’s review everything these talented Penguins accomplished this year.

 

For reference: DCSAA refers to “statewide” competition, which includes private and charter schools, while DCIAA refers to “citywide” competition, which only includes DCPS schools.


Boys Soccer - A Fierce Fight

After graduating 11 seniors last year, the boys’ soccer team had a challenging start to the season, with 0-1 losses to Roosevelt and Coolidge in September. However, in the later season, the team made a strong push for a playoff spot, garnering a 2-1 win over Capital City, 1-1 ties with DCI and Bell, and a triumphant 0-0 tie with Jackson-Reed, the team that went on to win the DCIAA championship. Unfortunately, the boys narrowly missed qualifying for playoffs but finished the season with a strong 6-1 win over Dunbar.


Girls Soccer - Penguins > Tigers

Girls’ soccer had a season full of thrilling moments. In September, the girls defeated St. Andrews (6-2) and Washington Latin (4-1) to win the St. Andrews Francisco Hope Memorial Tournament. Wins in the following weeks over National Cathedral School (3-0) and Episcopal (2-1) launched the Penguins to #1 in DCSAA standings. In league play, their first challenge came with a matchup against Jackson-Reed, in which the Tigers emerged with a 3-1 win. However, in the DCIAA championship on October 30th, the girls were back for a rematch. A first-half goal from Tillie Freed (‘24) put Walls up 1-0, and Jackson-Reed never made up the deficit. The girls defeated Jackson-Reed for the first time in 5 years and took home the DCIAA championship for the first time in 13 years. 


Cross Country - Underclassmen on Exhibit

The running penguins showed up throughout the season, but their best performances came in October, at the DCIAA championship, a 5k race with over 110 runners. Marie-Celeste Pessey (‘26)—who would later be named cross country DCIAA athlete of the year—came in first place for the girls with a time of 22:58.11. As a team, the girls came in 2nd place in DCIAA. On the boys’ side, captain Jeffrey Clarke (‘24) came in 5th place with a time of 19:13.82, Jacob Lucia (‘27) came in 10th place with a time of 19:44.89, and the boys team placed third in DCIAA. 


Swim - Quality over Quantity

Despite only bringing 17 swimmers to DCIAA championships, the girls’ and boys’ swim teams each left championships with a second-place team result, propelled by strong individual performances. On the girls’ side, Hazel Klein (‘26) won the 500 freestyle and Ava Goins (‘25) won the 50 freestyle. For the boys, Kai Henrikson-Brandt (‘25) won the 100 fly, and the boys’ relay team won both the medley and freestyle relays. With the majority of the team returning next winter, a DCIAA championship looks within reach.


Track - “Another School Record?”

2024 was a record-shattering year for the Walls track program. Olivia Waymer (‘24), who will run D1 track at Elon University next year, now holds school records in the 55m, 100m, 300m, 400m, and 300m hurdles. Rory Leavitt (‘25), a DCIAA All-League Award recipient, set a new school record of 12:21.84 in the 3200m, and Elijah Lott (‘25) set a new school record of 52.08 in the 400m. Nadia Lytle (‘25) continues to smash school, DCIAA, and state records—she now holds the state record in discus (137’0”) and shotput (42’0”). The girls relay teams also left their mark this season: the girls 4x400m and 4x100m relay teams set new school records with times of 4:09.64 and 51.80, respectively. Run penguins run!


Boys Varsity Basketball - DCIAA Challenges, DCSAA Determination

Despite an overall strong season featuring hard-fought wins (62-59 over Eastern and 56-52 over HD Woodson), the boys came up short in several key matches, such as a fourth quarter comeback from Coolidge to a 48-58 match. The boys finished league play ranked ninth in DCIAA, barely missing playoff qualification. However, they earned a place in DCSAA state playoffs, and went into their quarterfinal matchup against Ballou hungry. Despite the boys leaving it all on the court, with Paul Joire (‘25) putting up 25 points and scoring seven 3-pointers, Ballou narrowly defeated Walls, 56-48. However, with deep JV and Varsity rosters, the boys will certainly be back hungry next year. Standout stats included Chidiire Nwokwu (‘25) with a season average of 12.6 points per game, and Isaac Wallsten (‘27) with a field goal percentage of 49%. 


Flag football - League Play Dominance, Playoff Battle

Throughout the season, the girls dominated DCIAA with wins over Bell (19-0), HD Woodson (19-0), and Roosevelt (6-0). Heading into the playoffs, the girls were seeded #1 in DCIAA, eventually losing to Coolidge in the semi-finals during overtime. Despite the disappointing end, the girls’ season was an impressive team effort and also featured strong individual performances. Nadia Kallmer (‘27) was selected for DCIAA All-League 1st Team, and Karli Bryant (‘25) and Joyce Kao (‘25) were selected for DCIAA All-League 2nd Team. 


Softball - Freshman/Sophomore Show

A dynamic group of 13 girls, including 10 freshmen and sophomores, the girls softball team had a strong season, improving on their 2023 record and contending with private schools. In a combination of narrow wins (14-13 over Woodson) and major victories (19-2 over Eastern), the girls were undefeated in league play, with the exception of an early season 9-19 loss to Jackson-Reed. Tess Usher (‘24), a  team captain, and Anna Morelli (‘27) were both selected to the DCIAA All-League 2nd Team, and ended the season with batting averages of 0.875 and 0.625, respectively. Other standout players included Maeve Cunningham (‘26) with 11 runs and Samantha Goldfrank (‘24), another team captain, with 2 home runs.


Tennis - Continued Dominance

The tennis team took home another successful season, continuing their streak of DCIAA domination. Jadran Saric (‘24) was the DCIAA boys singles champion for the 3rd year running, with Ben Yarkin (‘24) as the runner-up. Other notable results from the year were a 4-0 win over Cardozo, a 3-2 win over McKinley Tech, and a 2-1 win over Banneker.  


Cheer - Celebrating Seniors

The cheer team brought school spirit to countless basketball games this year, building penguin pride no matter the result of the game. The team also took on the DCIAA cheer competition. Despite coming up just short of winning the competition, Mylah Matheson (‘24) said, “We worked very hard on our routine and I could tell we really put our all into it this year.” The team was led by a core group of eight seniors, including captains Aniyha Brown (‘24) and Niyah Sapp (‘24).


Varsity Volleyball

Girls volleyball dominated DCIAA this year, ending league play with a 14-1 record, having fallen only to Jackson-Reed. Finishing league play at #2 in DCIAA, the girls faced off with Jackson-Reed in championships, where they unfortunately lost in a hard fought 0-3 match. Julia Kelly (‘24), a team captain, was awarded DCSAA All-State honors and Taylor Brown (‘26) was awarded DCIAA All-League honors.

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