Photo by David Kena

Editors' Pick

Best Teen Athletes

Ayana Akli Wheaton High School, 2019 graduate, tennis

Ayana Akli, who won Wheaton’s first girls singles state title in 2017, swept championship season last May, winning the county, regional and state titles for the third consecutive year. In doing so, she became only the fifth player to win three straight Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association singles titles. Akli wrapped up the fall portion of her freshman season at the University of Maryland by reaching the quarterfinals of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Atlantic Regionals and won her singles bracket at the Roberta Alison Fall Classic hosted by the University of Alabama.



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Clarence Foote-Talley Northwest High School, 2019 graduate, indoor/outdoor track and field Last May, jumper/sprinter

Clarence Foote-Talley won three events—long jump, triple jump and the 400-meter relay—to lead Northwest to its fourth consecutive state title. His 51-foot, 10½-inch triple jump broke his own 2018 state meet record, which had previously been set in 1998, and was the nation’s top high school jump of the season, according to MileSplit. The Ohio State University freshman says he’s working to eclipse the 57-foot mark in hopes of qualifying for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials and Tokyo Games.



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James Flannery Georgetown Prep, 2019 graduate, ice hockey

James Flannery helped turn a five-win ice hockey team in 2017-18 into an Interstate Athletic Conference (IAC) champion in 2019. He paced the Washington, D.C., area with 30 goals, and added nine assists in leading the Little Hoyas to their fifth IAC title and second in three years. The Washington Post named him the “Player of the Year” on its Winter 2019 All-Met ice hockey team. Flannery also tallied 20 goals for Georgetown Prep’s boys lacrosse team, including one in the Little Hoyas’ 11-10 win against eventual IAC champion Bullis School. He will play for the U.S. Naval Academy’s lacrosse team this spring.


Jenaisya Moore Northwest High School, 2019 graduate, volleyball

Three-time Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year Jenaisya Moore tallied 285 kills in leading Northwest to its fourth straight state title in November 2018. Moore’s 1,153 career kills accounted for 43% of the team’s total during her four-year tenure, in which Northwest compiled a 77-2 record. Moore finished her freshman season at Ohio State University this fall second on the team in kills (269) and points (301).



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Meagan Olsen Walt Whitman High School, senior, skiing

On skis by age 3 and racing by the time she was 7, Whitman High School senior Meagan Olsen is an internationally ranked alpine skier. During her 2018-19 International Ski Federation season, she was victorious in two races—the women’s giant slalom at El Colorado in Chile and the women’s downhill at Aspen/Highlands in Colorado—and finished in the top three of six more. She kicked off this season in Argentina in August with three top five finishes in the women’s giant slalom.



Photo by Skip Brown

Phoebe Bacon Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, senior, swimming

The University of Wisconsin-Madison recruit led off Team USA’s winning 400-meter medley relay at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, this past August. She won an individual gold medal in the 100-meter backstroke, one of four events in which she’s already qualified for the 2020 Olympic Trials. Bacon won three events at the 2019 Washington Metropolitan Interscholastic Swimming and Diving Championships (Metros), setting a meet record in the 200-yard individual medley. She also holds Metros records in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke.



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Marquez Cooper Quince Orchard High School, senior, football

This past fall, Quince Orchard senior Marquez Cooper set a new Montgomery County Public Schools record with 94 career rushing touchdowns. The elusive running back rushed for 2,031 yards and scored 37 touchdowns this season, leading the state for the second consecutive year. With a program record 5,251 career rushing yards, the Kent State University recruit—who in 2018 led Quince Orchard to its first state title since 2007—finished in the top five of Montgomery County’s all-time leading rushers.



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Stephanie Hong Holton-Arms School, 2019 graduate, lacrosse

A four-year varsity starter, Stephanie Hong was the D.C. area’s third-leading goal scorer in 2019 with 93. One of the region’s strongest midfielders, she also ranked in the region’s top nine in assists (29), top 16 in ground balls (45), and tallied 62 draw controls. A US Lacrosse All-American selection in 2018-19, Hong scored in all 21 of Holton’s games, netting five goals or more in 10 of them. She finished her high school career with 290 goals and 101 assists, and in February will kick off her freshman season with the Harvard women’s lacrosse team.


Natan RosenWalt Whitman High School, 2019 graduate, soccer

As a senior, Natan Rosen’s 17 goals included the game-tying score in Whitman’s 2-1 win over Urbana in the 2018 state final, as the Vikings notched their first state championship since 2014, and 10th in program history. But Rosen, who managed to stand out on a team ripe with talent—he was The Washington Post’s 2018 All-Met “Player of the Year”—is much more than a scorer. His technical savvy, high soccer IQ, and creativity with the ball at his feet also resulted in 11 assists. On Sept. 21, the left-footed attacker recorded his first collegiate goal, the game-winner in Lehigh University’s Patriot League victory over American University.


Eldad Mulugeta Northwood High School, 2019 graduate, cross country/track and field

A two-time state champion (in the 3,200-meter run and 3,200 relay) during the 2019 indoor track and field season, Eldad Mulugeta posted the state’s best times of the season in the 1,600 (4:15.89) and 3,200 (9:11.14)—ranking in Montgomery County’s all-time top five with both performances, according to MoCoRunning. In April, Mulugeta won the 3,000 at the Penn Relays with the county’s third-fastest mark of all time (8:29.05) and then capped off his high school tenure with county and state titles in the 3,200. His county-winning time of 9:02.19 was the state’s fastest of 2019.