Boyd's Crystal Wang, 12, became the youngest-ever player to reach the men's or women's singles final at the USA National Table Tennis Championships, held this month in Las Vegas, according to USA Table Tennis historian Tim Boggan. In the semifinals, she defeated top-seeded Zheng Jiaqi of California, 4-2. She lost the final, 4-1, to Lily Zhang, also of California, who also had won in 2012. Wang also won the under-22 women's singles title for the second year in a row. Last year, she was the youngest ever to win the event, at age 11; this year, she became the second youngest, at age 12. She also made the semifinals in three other events: women's doubles (with Diane Jiang of California), mixed doubles (with Han Xiao of Bowie), and junior girls' teams (also with Jiang). She also made both the U.S. junior (under 18) and cadet (under 15) national teams. Her new rating after the national championships makes her the highest-rated 12-and-under player in U.S. history, boys or girls, as well as the highest-ranked U.S. under-18 girl. Crystal trains at the Maryland Table Tennis Center in Gaithersburg.
Former Olney-area soccer star set to play for U.S. men
Gedion Zelalem, the German-born midfielder who played six years of youth soccer in Maryland before signing with Arsenal in 2013, finalized the U.S. citizenship process on Monday, clearing the way to represent the United States in international competition. Zelalem, 17, must now await FIFA approval, but that is believed to be a perfunctory exercise. Although he will remain eligible for Germany and Ethiopia (his family's homeland), Zelalem has told friends and American officials that he plans to commit to the U.S. program, multiple sources said. Affiliated with a prominent Premier League club, Zelalem will immediately become one of the top young prospects in the U.S. build-up to the 2016 Olympics and 2018 World Cup. Zelalem moved to the United States at age 9 and settled in Montgomery County with his father and younger sister. He thrived with the Olney Rangers, and that exposure led to his discovery by Virginia-born Danny Karbassiyoon, a former Arsenal prospect and current scout. Zelalem also played one season for Walter Johnson High's varsity.
—Steven Goff, The Washington Post
College wrestling: Four Maryland players advanced to the quarterfinals but were unable to place in the semifinal round of the 52nd Ken Kraft Midlands Championships on Monday in Evanston, Ill. The Terps (4-7, 0-3 Big Ten Conference) had five competitors still alive in consolation action: No. 7 Geoffrey Alexander (133 pounds), No. 17 Shyheim Brown (141), Lou Mascola (157), Josh Snook (174) and Dawson Peck (285, unattached).
—From Sun staff and news services