One Big Step for Wilson, One Giant Leap for Public Schools
Woodrow Wilson High School’s student newspaper, The Beacon, has given us permission to republish the following article, which appeared in its online publication on November 19, 2015. If you do not already receive the newspaper, we encourage you to subscribe. The award-winning paper is entirely funded through donations and advertising.
By Owen Isaacs, Beacon contributor
At the start of the girls varsity soccer season this fall, the team hoped to accomplish two things that no DC public school had done in the same season: Go undefeated and win the state championship.
After starting the season with a 2-2 tie to St. John’s on September 8th, the team went on to finish the regular season with a record of 10-0-5. While this was a great accomplishment for Wilson Athletics, it was not enough for the Tigers. They set their sights on the state title and would not be satisfied until they won it.
The team started their playoff campaign with a win on October 28th against Cardozo by a score of 6-0 followed by a 4-0 win against School Without Walls in the DCIAA championship on October 31st. Two more wins in the DCSAA playoffs followed, propelling the team into a championship rematch against rival St. John’s on November 14th.
The game began with Wilson scoring an early goal, and from that point on it became a defensive struggle. Wilson’s starting goalie, freshman Ella Gantman, couldn’t play, forcing junior Anna Joos to step up for her team. Joos had also played in goal in the semifinal game against Maret on November 12th, which Wilson won by a score of 1-0. Not only did Joos play well, but she held St. John’s to a shutout, giving Wilson the 1-0 win, making them the first ever public school team to win the state title.
“I was extremely nervous both games when I walked out onto the pitch,” Joos said. “I think looking back at it now the nerves were actually good because they pushed me to be better for the school and the team. I knew what my job was and I just really didn’t want to let anyone down. We had something to prove.”
As the final whistle blew signaling the end of the game, Wilson fans in the stands stormed the field, joining the girls in celebration. When the trophy was presented to the players, the crowd erupted into an applause.
After the game, senior and co-captain Kaili Gregory was asked what made this team’s season so successful. “All season, we stressed the importance of every single person on this team, whether they played 80 minutes, 20 minutes, or not at all. In previous years, that was not the case,” said Gregory.
The result proves that this was the best girls varsity soccer season in the history of Wilson. Up until this season, the girls’ soccer team had lost many games against private schools and was seen as the underdog, but this no longer stands true after this season. “We’ve gone from accepting losses against private schools to expecting to beat them,” said Gregory.
Photo credit: Brian Kapur