Sports Decade In Review: District Of Champions
Washington sports has had one hell of a decade as it saw the NHL’s Capitals win the Presidents’ Trophy as the league’s best regular-season team three times, their first Stanley Cup in 2018, and make Stanley Cup Playoffs in all but one season last decade; the Nationals making the MLB Postseason five times; the NBA’s Washington Wizards making the NBA Playoffs four, and the NFL’s Washington Redskins in the NFL Playoffs twice. The Voice reviews the last decade in D.C. sports.
The decade featured some golden draft picks as the Nationals selected Bryce Harper first overall in 2010 and Anthony Rendon sixth in 2011; the Capitals picked Evgeny Kuznetsov 26th overall in 2010, Jakub Vrana 14th overall in 2014, and Ilya Samsonov 22nd overall in 2015; the Wizards drafted John Wall first overall in 2010 and Bradley Beal third in 2010; and the Redskins acquired Ryan Kerrigan 16th overall in 2010, Robert Griffin III second in 2011, and Dwayne Haskins 15th last year.
It also saw some significant trades that helped make big influences for each team. The Nationals acquired Trea Turner, Sean Doolittle, and Adam Eaton over in separate deals over the past decade, and all played vital roles in their first World Series championship. The Capitals acquired T.J. Oshie, Lars Eller, and Michal Kempny while just giving up one second-round pick, two thirds, and Troy Brouwer and all played critical roles in their run to the Stanley Cup with Eller scoring the Stanley Cup-clinching goal in Game 5 against the Vegas Golden Knights in 2018. The Redskins received the pick they selected Griffin III third overall, Alex Smith, and the selection they used on Josh Doctson.
There were even some big splashes on the free-agent market as the Nationals signed Max Scherzer in 2015, Jayson Werth in 2010, and Patrick Corbin in 2019; the Capitals inked Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik in 2014 and Brett Connolly in 2016; the Wizards signed Eric Maynor and Garrett Temple in 2013, and the Redskins picked up Josh Norman in 2016.
The Redskins recorded a regular-season record of 58-97-1 (.372 winning percentage) and lost both of their playoff games during the decade (both in the NFL wild-card, the Nationals posted a 961-740 regular-season record over the decade (.565 winning percentage) and 19-17 in the MLB Playoffs, the Wizards posted one of 352-453 (.437 winning percentage) in the regular season and 21-19 in the postseason and the Capitals finished the decade with a 465-232-90 (.648 points percentage) and a 56-51 record in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Mr. Ebner, a long-time Redskins and Capitals fan, “When the Caps won, I got a tattoo on my arm and told people that it'd been 44 years since it happened and they’ve had good years, where they’ve been close, up and down … that was amazing, what they did, and I felt like it was the culmination of validation for [captain] Alex Ovechkin and for [center] Nicklas Backstrom and a lot of the guys [who’ve] been here. … The Nationals were great, but I grew up [a Baltimore] Orioles fan because there wasn’t a baseball team in Washington … in the late ‘70s, early ‘80s. … To me, watching the Capitals win was much bigger because they were a founded D.C. team, and while we’ve had baseball here twice before, it just felt different.”
He felt like the town will get back to being Redskins crazy once they start winning again after seeing what the Capitals and Nationals brought out in people.
“For the Capitals to finally get there win I think was just, in many ways, a ginormous relief, but it was a joy for all of us who love Ovechkin so much to see him celebrate with pure unbridled passion that you can’t watch him and not feel happy when he scores because he just lifts everybody with his passion and exuberance. He’s the greatest athlete in Washington sports decade,” he said.
“I think part of it is the Redskins have, for 20 years, provided a shining example of how not to do things, unfortunately. As a die-hard Redskins fan who puts [them] ahead of every team there is. I think that the local teams (Nationals, Capitals) have seen how to go about things with a family-friendly atmosphere and provided a great [one] for families. Ultimately, it comes down to [Capitals GM Brian] MacLellan and [Nationals GM Mike] Rizzo and ownership. That’s where it starts and [ends]. They’ve done a great job. I also want to throw in UVA winning a national championship as well. I’ve been waiting for that for years, so you know what, I almost want to recant my previous answer and say that my greatest sports moment for the last ten years was UVA winning [the March Madness] title. It’s right up there with the Capitals,” he said.
While there have been some awesome moments for the city in the past decade, that has also been the case for the school community. The Voice now reviews the last decade of Saints Athletics.
St. Stephens and St. Agnes has always had success in athletics since before the two schools merged, and the success did not stop in the past ten years. The 2010s consisted of many accomplishments and achievements for our athletic teams. Continuing our success in some sports, while emerging in others, this decade has been a wild ride for our teams.
This decade has consisted of sixteen VISAA state championships and thirty-two IAC and ISL championships or co-championships. That is a combined forty-eight championships for all of our sports teams in this past decade. This does not include all of the individual championships that we have won for track and field as well as cross country. Coaches and players have cycled through but one constant has remained, success.
The Saints compete in The Virginia Independent School Athletic Association and the Interstate Athletic Conference for boys and the Independent School League for girls. The Saints have had continuous success in many sports, but to go along with this success, the Saints have emerged in other sports as well.
In the past decade the Saints won their first IAC championship in Boy’s Lacrosse in 2013 and Boy’s Tennis in 2019. The Boy’s Basketball team has also emerged this decade as a strong team year after year, capping off the decade with an IAC and VISAA championship in 2019. Another sport that has emerged is track and field. The Saints have had many athletes place new school records this decade as well as even U.S. records for their age groups. This same success has continued in Cross Country as well. The Swim and Dive team had numerous successes in 2017 placing multiple times during the state finals. Field Hockey and Girl’s lacrosse have continued to have success during the decade and this is nothing new for the Saints. The school's success in field hockey and lacrosse have dated back to before the merger and has just continued. The success does not stop there as softball, soccer, tennis, and basketball have also won multiple ISL championships during the decade. These banners were nothing new to the girl’s teams though, as most of them have all won in previous decades as well.
Coach Koroma, The Girl’s Head Athletic Director, mentions her favorite moment as the Saints breaking the tie in the Seminary Hill Cup over Episcopal. Over the decade the SHC has gone back and forth in the number of wins and points during the contest. But in 2019, the Saints finally broke the tie and is now leading in points and number of cup wins.
Mr. Ebner is someone that has been around the athletic programs during the whole decade. There is not anyone in the school that has been to as many as many athletic events as Mr. Ebner, and when asking him what his favorite memory this decade was, he described it as when The Saints defeated his alma mater Landon for the Lacrosse IAC Championship in 2013. This was a special moment for Mr. Ebner as he helped coach lacrosse for many years and he was around the sport for a long time. The Saints were not always known for having competitive boy’s lacrosse teams and this was the first time The Saints won in a conference that usually consisted of a two-team race.
I asked around the school what students’ favorite sports moments were, and their answers differed. Senior William Lane’s favorite moment was when during homecoming in 2013 when we beat Paul VI with a last-second touchdown. The Class of 2020 was only in Fifth Grade when this happened but he said: “it was definitely a moment I will always remember.”
Junior Bo Siegal said his favorite moment was when the Saints made a buzzer-beating three-pointer to send us to the Sleepy Thompson championship in 2017.
Junior Caroline Lipton mentioned her favorite sports moment as when the Girls soccer team moved up a division in ISLs for the first time in school history. She said “It was very exciting since it was the first time we ever moved up.”
This decade has been a tremendous success for our athletic programs and our school. This success just means the expectations will be higher for our teams going into this decade. But no matter what, success will remain in the Saints athletic programs for a long time.