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Feb. 5, 2015

Itís the Districtís time to shine

by Robert Pfefferle, Online Sports Editor
Letís face it, Washington isnít a sports town. Cities such as Boston, New York, Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia have a pride in their sports teams that is an entire echelon above Washingtonís. Itís been 24 years since the city saw its last professional championship. In that time, the city has seen numbers of fails in coaching, free agents, and draft picks from every one of the cityís professional teams. But thereís a new era in Washington, an era of all-stars, division championships, conference championships, and maybe even a few national championships.

Nationals
Possibly the most promising team in Washington, the Nationals have been elite for a couple years now and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. The team is centered around young studs Bryce Harper, 22, and Anthony Rendon, 24. Last year the Nationals had one of the best pitching staffs in the country, and then they went out and added Max Scherzer to the rotation for seven years. This Nationals team is bound to be phenomenal this year, but with Scherzer and Harper locked up for the long run this team is bound to be great for the long run. Even if Stephen Strasburg or Jordan Zimmermann leave, the Nationals will be title contenders for years to come.

Wizards
Next weíll head up into the heart of the District into Chinatown, where the Capitals are no longer the only noteworthy team playing at the Verizon Center. The Wizards are turning the franchise completely around. The team currently sits in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with a 31-21 record at the All-Star break. Point guard John Wall is averaging a double-double with 17 points per game and leads the NBA with 10.1 assists per game. Wall is also helped by an incredible supporting cast of shooting guard Bradley Beal and Marcin Gortat, who has established himself this season as one of the top big men in the league. The Wizards haven't won more than 50 games in a season since 1978, but this year could be the year. Looking towards the future, John Wall is locked up through the 2018-19 season, and Bradley Beal will most likely get a max deal for up to five years this offseason. While the team might lose some of this seasons key players such as Nene or Pierce, the team will maintain its core group of guys.

Capitals
The Washington Capitals are hotter than ever. Currently the team is sitting on the playoff bubble at 7th place in the Eastern Conference; however, they are only six points behind the leading Montreal Canadians. New Head Coach Barry Trotz has turned the team around from last year. Left Wing Alexander Ovechkin currently leads the NHL in goals, while Center Nicklas Backstrom leads in assists. The Caps are a very streaky team and have the potential to get hot for long periods of time, but their inconsistency will plague them moving forward. Ovechkin still has another six years left in his ridiculous 13 year contract and he hasnít shown many signs of aging yet. His aging is inevitable, but hopefully the Caps will be able to squeeze a few more years out of him.

United
This United team has found itself a new home. The D.C. City Council approved a plan for a $200 million new soccer stadium in Buzzard Point very close to Nationals Park. While many Americans think Major League Soccer is a joke, D.C. United does have a serious fan base in and around the metropolitan area. This United team had a monster season in 2014, finishing first in the Eastern Conference with 59 points. The team came up short in the playoffs, but this year they bring back most of the same squad from last year. Goalie Bill Hamid was awarded MLS Goalie of the Year last year, and will help contribute to a winning team for years to come. United Defender Steven Birnbaum will also play a major role in the success of the team moving forward.

Terps
If you reach out just beyond the district into College Park, Maryland, the University of Marylandís entire athletic department is having a positive identity change since their moving to the Big Ten Conference. The football team held their own in their first year in a tough football conference. The Terps had impressive wins on the road at Penn State and Michigan this season, landing them in the Foster Farms Bowl against Stanford at the end of the year. The basketball teams on the other hand, both men and women, are having great seasons. The menís basketball team just took down fifth ranked Wisconsin, and has a chance at finish in the top three of the conference. The womenís basketball team however, has already won the regular season championship in the Big Ten

This city is deprived of a championship. Itís hard to tell which team could bring it home, but all of the teams have a chance, except for the Redskins. However, theyíre still a work in progress.



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