With talented athletes in a variety of sports in the Washington area, it’s fitting that several have recently been recognized on the national scene. Every Monday, Sports Illustrated releases a Faces in the Crowd section that features six athletes from throughout the nation, and sometimes abroad. Since the school year began in late August, five area high school and middle school athletes have been featured.
Below are the five athletes that compete in sports ranging from wrestling and marathon running to table tennis and taekwondo.
Feb. 17 — Alfred Bannister, Bishop McNamara Wrestling
The Mustangs’ senior 145-pound standout earned a spot on Faces in the Crowd after he pinned Jack Perry (Gonzaga) 1 minute and 30 minutes into the second round for his 250th career win. He finished his illustrious career with a 272-8 record — the most wins in Maryland state wrestling history. The 2014 All-Met wrestler of the year is one of only five wrestlers to win four consecutive Maryland Independent School titles. He is a four-time Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, two-time Beast of the East, two-time National High School Coaches Association and two-time National Preps champion. Bannister will wrestle at the University of Maryland.
March 3 — Caroline Alcorta, West Springfield, Track and Field
The Spartans’ senior won the girls’ high school mile at the February Millrose Games in New York City in 4:46.06, a blazing time set a Millrose Games record at the 107th annual invitational. In December, she finished third at the Foot Locker Nationals 5K race in San Diego, Calif. (17:31). Then, at the historic Penn Relays in April, the 2013 girls’ cross country All-Met athlete of the year ran a fantastic anchor leg to lift West Springfield to the Distance Medley Relay Championship of America. She earned winter first team All-Met honors after dropping Virginia-best times in the 1,500 (4:26.48), 1,600 (4:52.08), 1-mile (4:46.06), 3,000 (9:45.59) and 3,200 (10:22.29). Alcorta will look to continue her winning ways at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
April 7 — Crystal Wang, Roberto Clemente Middle School, Table Tennis
Wang, 12, finished third at the U.S. team trials in March to become the youngest member, male or female, in the history of the national team. In December, at the age of 11, she became the youngest to win the U.S. 21-and-under title by defeating Angela Guan, 15, of San Jose. Wang attends middle school in Germantown and trains at the Maryland Table Tennis Center in Gaithersburg.
April 21 — Brandon Ivey, Briar Woods, Taekwondo
A junior at Briar Woods, Ivey is the first American male to win gold at the junior world championships in 16 years. He defeated Hamza Kattan of Jordan, 5-4 in sudden death overtime, to take the heavyweight title in Taipei in March. In 2013, He was named USA Taekwondo’s male junior athlete of the year.
May 5 — Emily Cox, W.T. Woodson, Marathon
Cox, a senior at W.T. Woodson, was the youngest female qualifier at the April Boston Marathon and finished with a time of 3:46.08. Cox’s stellar run continued a family tradition begun by her late grandfather, John, who was 84 when he ran his final Marine Corps Marathon in 2011. Cox qualified for the Boston Marathon with a finishing time of 3:31.51 at the 2012 Marine Corps. Nine relatives on her father’s side of the family have combined to complete 101 Marine Corps Marathons, but Emily is the lone Cox to compete in Boston.
May 12 — Drew Hunter, Loudoun Valley, Track and Field
Just a sophomore at the Purcellville school, Hunter has already established himself as one of the area’s top distance runners. Hunter broke out during the cross-country season, posting the top underclassman time at several major races before winning the Virginia 3A championship at Great Meadow in a time of 15 minutes, 37 seconds. Late last month at the Penn Relays, Hunter won the 3,000 meters with a time of 8 minutes, 16.31 seconds — the second-fastest time ever run at the meet.