The Alexandria Sportsman’s Club Honors Top City High School Athletes

Hailey Duffett, Lauren Keast, Audrey Pickard, Ella Goulet, Siena Puglisi. (Photo: Lucelle O’Flaherty)

ALEXANDRIA, VA -Tuesday, May 30, was an all-star night at the Alexandria Westin Hotel in Carlyle as 275 dignitaries, city officials, leaders, parents, coaches, and high school honorees celebrated top high school sports talent. The awards show recognized 36 winners from four high schools in Alexandria, three of them private. Two ten-year-old children from the city’s Department of Recreation were also feted. Thousands of athletes compete in a wide range of sports to snare a coveted win each year.

Alexandria Recreation Department Athletes of the Year Calvin Clarke and Kylie Moore, aged 10. (Photo: Lucelle O’Flaherty)
President Jerry Whitmire (left) and Kevin Quaid, parent of Ice Hockey winner Ryan. (Photo: Judith Fogel)

Jerry Whitmire is the 2023 president and presided over the annual awards banquet, now in its 66th year. He said he got involved when his daughter won volleyball Athlete of the Year multiple times. “That sparked my interest,” Whitmire said in an interview during the cocktail hour. “It is a worthy cause. We are here to represent, support, and recognize the 15,000 kids between kindergarten and high school. We do everything we possibly can to support them in every way. “

As Whitmore looked around him, the hallway filling with guests, drinks in hand, he felt joy and relief. “It is fantastic that it always comes together. I was up at 4:00 this morning to get the seating charts right. It’s amazing how you can spend nine hours on a seating chart and then have to change it again.”

ASC Past President Marion Moon holding the mayor’s proclamation. (Photo: Lucelle O’Flaherty)

The Zebra spoke with with Marion Moon between a run-through of the evening’s program and greeting guests. Moon is the immediate past president of the sports organization. She has been involved since the 1980s and created a matching fund to honor her son Rick Moon, who died of a heart attack in 2013 at 45.

Milan Rex, Alexandria High School Volleyball winner, with parents Tram and Steve. (Photo: Lucelle O’Flaherty)

“Around 2015, I was trying to figure out how to celebrate my son’s life,” Moon explained. “He was an Alexandria boy, loved sports, and so I thought, why not create a matching fund of $20,000 a year? We have raised $245,000 for young students in all four Alexandria high schools.”

Marion Moon. (Photo: Lucelle O’Flaherty)

Moon added, “I believe God took my son so I could help other people.” She was later honored during dinner with a Past President award and Life Membership.

Board member Jeanne Jacob, Gerry Frank, Vice Mayor Amy Jackson, Marion Moon (Past President Distinguished Service Award), Barbara Becker. (Photo: Lucelle O’Flaherty)

Alexandria Vice Mayor Amy Jackson delivered a proclamation on behalf of the mayor and city council. Council members attending the awards dinner included John Chapman, Alyia Gaskins, and former councilman Frank Fannon. Thomas Hodges, a former Alexandria Hammond High School graduate, was inducted into the ASC Hall of Fame. A surprise award, Sportsman of the Year, went to 2018 president Tom McHugh.

The real draw of the night was keynote speaker Jessie Coffield. A St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School graduate, she recalled sitting in these seats and winning a trophy for field hockey in 2009. The 32-year-old went from an internship in the car dealership industry to Super Bowl commercials. But getting from A to Z was grueling work, and Coffield used the evening to impart some words of wisdom to the young students in the ballroom.

The Power of Failure

Jessie Coffield spoke about the “Power of the Pivot” and how to pivot when Plan A fails. (Photo: Lucelle O’Flaherty).

“I’m sure tonight you’re expecting a speech about a success story,” she said. “But what I want to talk to you about tonight is…failure.”

Coffield detailed her setbacks, starting with her first year at Boston College when her sports coach demoted her. In her senior year, she suffered a concussion. She was told to stop playing or risk serious neurological damage. “At the ripe old age of 22, I had to retire medically. It felt like everything I’d worked so hard for was being ripped away from me at that moment. I wallowed in self-pity. But I’d already learned something from failure. Failure was a motivator.”

Keynote speaker Jessie Coffield, flanked by her father Bill on the left, grandfather Joseph Kilbourn on the right. (Photo: Judith Fogel)

Coffield had to figure out a Plan B following college graduation. She knew she wanted to go before the camera and report on sports. She applied everywhere, from Idaho to Buffalo, but each attempt was met with a resounding “no.” Determined, Coffield finally landed an internship in Atlanta but as far from sports as she could imagine.

Brook McHugh with keynote speaker Jessie Coffield. (Photo: Lucelle O’Flaherty)

“People think it’s glossy,” Coffield told Zebra during the cocktail hour. In truth, she was alone in Atlanta, living in a tiny apartment, and had no local friends. “All my friends had graduated from Boston College. They had good job offers in New York and Boston. They’re on their way, and I am an intern.” But she persevered until her lucky break, a sideline reporter with the New England Revolution, a Major League Soccer team.

After dinner, Vice Mayor Amy Jackson took time to reflect on the organization and its contribution to the city.

“The Alexandria Sportsman’s Club has supported our community and our kids for over 76 years. If they continue supporting our community, we need to step up to support them,” Jackson said. “Four high schools in our city. Not just one. Not just two. Public and private schools. I don’t know any other event that includes all four high schools.”

Coffield recounted those early years to Zebra. “There’s a fake it until you make it vibe. You dry your eyes, slap that smile on your face, and get out there. You cry when you get home.” And with that, she raced to the airport for another event and back to her one-year-old baby Vivienne.

Tom McHugh, honored for Contributions to Alexandria Athletics & the Community, with his wife Brook. (Photo: Lucelle O’Flaherty)

2023 Special Recognition Awards


2023 HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE – Thomas B. Hodges 


Coach of the Year Danielle Thorne, ASC President Jerry Whitmire. (Photo: Lucelle O’Flaherty)

COACHES OF THE YEAR – Scott Conklin / Danielle Thorne


Daryl Moore, Kylie Moore (ALX Recreation Dept Athlete of the Year), teacher Lakeyda Robinson. (Photo: Lucelle O’Flaherty)
Calvin Clarke and family, laughing it up in the photo booth. (Photo: Lucelle O’Flaherty)


EHS Head Football Coach Kadeem Rodger accepted “Athlete of the Year” for Buom Jock, with ASC President Jerry Whitmire. (Photo: Lucelle O’Flaherty)

2023 ASC Athletes of the Year

Episcopal High School

Buom Jock – Football. Colorado State University

Carson Cowburn – Cross Country Boys

Caulley Deringer – Lacrosse – Boys. UVA

Mary Schroeder – Squash, Girls.

Max Yang – Climbing.

Tilford Griggs – Squash, Boys.

Alexandria City High School

Alessandro Terrell Sanders – Rugby, Boys. Norfolk State (VA)

Anna St. Jean – Swimming, Girls. Wheaton College (MA)

Avery Miller – Softball. Longwood University

Bella Mclemore – Dive, Girls.

Calvin Wiedemer – Washington and Lee University

Daniel McGinnis – Baseball. Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, VA

Eduard Reyes – Soccer, Boys. Alderson Broaddus University

Eleanor Lynch – Crew, Girls. UVA

Emma Toggia – Rugby, Girls. Virginia Commonwealth University

Jolan Foronda – Swimming, Boys.

Kye Robinson – Basketball, Boys

Mac Coulby – Dive, Boys

Morgan Fraser – Track and Field, Girls.

Milan Rex – Volleyball. UC Santa Barbara

Wilson “Cash” McClanahan – Crew, Boys. The University of Vermont

Chris Shorter, Sr., Chris Shorter, Jr., Councilman John Chapman, ACHS Athletic Director James Parker. (Photo: Lucelle O’Flaherty

St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes High School

Giorgio Corica – Wrestling. Stevens Institute of Technology (NJ)

Drew Norton – Baseball. Dickinson College

Ali Barrow – Soccer, Girls. US Naval Academy

Chris Shorter – Track and Field, Boys

Hannah Floyd – Cross Country, Girls

Jacob Foti – Golf

Margaux DeVaul – Tennis, Girls

Bishop Ireton High School

Camilo Gomez – Tennis, Boys

Ella Lupo – Cheerleading. Virginia Commonwealth University

Lauren Keast – Field Hockey. Catholic University

Nyla Brooks – Basketball, Girls. Verbally committed to the University of Tennessee

Ryan Quaid – Ice Hockey. James Madison University

Siena Puglisi – Lacrosse, Girls. Princeton University

2023 ASC Scholarship Winners

2023 ASC Scholarship Winners. (Photo: Lucelle O’Flaherty)

Alexandria City High School – Milan Rex, Emma Toggia, Julia Lungren, Malik Kunata, Kullen Robinson, Eleanor Lynch, Madeline Crowe, Calvin Wiedemer

Paul Goulet, Darlene Duffett, Alice Goulet, Hailey Duffett, Ella Goulet. (Photo: Lucelle O’Flaherty)

Bishop Ireton High School Hailey Duffet, Meckenzie Letellier, Ryan Quaid, Ella Goulet, Elizabeth Cheney, Siena Puglisi, Audrey Pickard

Episcopal High School Nala Cornegy, Ava Foulk, James Deringer Jr.

St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes High School Kylie Payne, Michael Guglielmone

Alexandria School Board Adopts $361M Budget for FY 2024

Related Articles

Back to top button