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Crushing Competition? All in the Cavs' Daily Workout

Woodson tennis team credits stiff practice regimen for stellar season.

A typical day's warm-up for the W.T. Woodson girls' tennis team is strenuous enough to catch the eye of other teams practicing on the school's fields.

"Our seniors do a practice warm-up run with the team," head coach Allen Clark said. "But we don't do two or three laps. They do a whole campus run and then work on the bleachers."

It's the sort of training that you might see a football team do regularly, but when your girls’ tennis team is undefeated and aiming for a region title, it doesn't seem so drastic.

"The seniors know what it takes to win," Clark said. "And the young kids just think that's what you have to do to be a part of our tennis team."

In fact, the training is so different from what other teams in the school expect from a tennis team, they don't know what to think when they're being lapped on the track.

According to sophomore Katie Clark, the girls' lacrosse team shared a training moment with the girls' tennis team earlier in the year.

"They were surprised that the tennis team was out here running around the campus," Katie Clark said. "Then they said, 'They're beating us. This is embarrassing'."

But conditioning and a commitment to hard work are some reasons the Cavaliers enjoy a 9-0 record.

The Cavs have swept seven opponents this year. The closest call came in a 7-2 win over West Potomac on April 6.

Senior Lauren Dam credited the team's strong play to players’ commitment to the sport both for the Woodson team and their own personal development.

"We stay after every day and we only take breaks for academics," Dam said. "Outside of school, we're all playing tennis. I'm playing more tennis than I sleep, I bet."

And when the team practices, Clark makes sure it's meaningful tennis by having his best players face off and by picking tough schools, such as Thomas Jefferson, to scrimmage.

"We play a lot of matches in practice to keep them tough," he said. "We're also allowed to play two scrimmages so we picked two really tough schools to go against."

Since the Cavaliers don’t always get to challenge the best teams in the region, the girls help to train each other. Not a bad situation, considering these are some of the best players in the region.

"A lot of our players are really close in ability and skills," junior Vicky Tran said. "We're all so competitive with each other as well. It helps us prepare for matches."

Clark said that training within the team has been one of the reason's the team has excelled. With so much depth on the team, Clark speculated that his No. 4 player could possibly be a No. 1 at another school.

"We have a lot of depth from our No. 1 to the end of the roster," he said. "A lot of schools might have one of two good players and then a drop off. We're fortunate to have top to bottom solid players."

With five matches left until the postseason begins, Clark is spending his time keeping the girls motivated to play and warning them about complacency.

"We just need to do simple stuff like continuing to work hard," he said. "Even matches where we might be favored, I'm telling the girls they need to keep working. These matches are where it's easy to get complacent. Don't do the minimum to win."