Saluting the overachievers, the quiet leaders and the often overlooked athletes in local high school sports.

Elena Albano

Haverhill Soccer

Home-Schooled Hillie

When the e-mail was sent out asking if any coach had an “Unsung Hero,” Fred Tarbox responded immediately.

“Haverhill girls soccer sure does! Elena plays every minute in big games. She’s tall, strong, smart and a great, great kid,” said the Hillie coach.

All five Albano children from Bradford are home-schooled. Elena is a 5-10 sophomore stopper and sister Gina is a senior on the team. Elena plays for the HPNA varsity hockey team (hockey is the family’s first love) and earns extra money as a dog walker.

Her mother, Leeann (Tolosko) Albano, played field hockey at Pentucket.

Albano’s favorites include the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” pancakes, “every genre of music,” actress Reese Witherspoon, soccer star Alex Morgan and the book “The Great Gatsby.”

Emma Bailey

Salem Field Hockey

Like Another Coach

Coach John Gatsas said of Bailey, “She is a hard working, dedicated team player. She is willing to work with the younger players and encourages everyone.”

The senior tri-captain, who ran cross country as a freshman, plays midfield and back. Last spring, she played No. 5 singles in tennis.

Her dad, Chris Bailey, was a North Andover High football player and her mom, Laura (White) Bailey, was a cheerleading captain for the Knights.

A member of HOSA, Emma would like to study nursing at Rivier, Colby-Sawyer or University of New England. These days, she’s learning to play guitar.

Emma, who is not quite 5-3, has a Golden Retriever named Scout and enjoys sitting around the bonfire. Over the summer, she worked at Camp Lincoln.

Her favorite teacher is Marybeth Cook for health science.

Danny Johnston

Salem Football

Jack of All Trades

Coach Rob Pike said of the running back/linebacker, “He has stepped into both spots at various times this season and performed great. Dan has a tremendously positive attitude and cares more about the team than himself.”

Johnston has a passion for singing with 1980s rock and 1990s alternative his favorites. He also enjoys movie production.

The 5-8, 158-pounder senior starts as a defensive midfielder in lacrosse. He works at Market Basket and has a pit bull named Callie.

Danny was born and raised in Salem. His dad, Rob Johnston, was a Tewksbury High football player.

Danny’s favorites include the song “No Complaints” by Metro Boomin, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” chicken, broccoli and ziti, “Friends” the band The Eagles and TV and production teacher Christopher Hazel.

Adriana Taboucherani

Fellowship Volleyball

Master of Serves

Adriana is a promising 5-3, 8th grader at the Methuen Christian school.

Coach Celeste Brodnick said, “She can serve 20 in a row. She is only 13 but can return a hard serve from someone who may be 18 years old. Her positive attitude is contagious. I feel blessed to coach such a player.”

Taboucherani enjoys playing summer volleyball at the Salem Boys and Girls Club.

The Haverhill resident has a fifth grade brother at FCA (Marc), who plays soccer. She says watch out for her third-grade sister, Nadia, another volleyball player.

Adriana takes piano lessons and enjoys playing in recitals. She likes to cook with “Gramma’s deserts” her specialties.

Her favorites include “Home Alone,” grape leaves, Christian music and Fellowship English teacher Erin Adkins.

Abigail Redington

Andover Cross Country

No Stopping Abigail

Redington is a courageous freshman who has cystic fibrosis.

“I try not to let it interfere with the way I want to live my life,” she said.

She’s a third-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. She’s a member of Andover’s Show Choir and has signed up for the photography club. The 5-foot-5 Redington’s father, Mike Redington, was a high school football captain and mom, Inna, speaks fluent Russian.

Abigail enjoys spending time with her dog, Macey, a Standard Poodle. One of her career highlights was a recent 5K victory in the JV dual meet against Central Catholic. Redington enjoys drawing, digital art and spending time in the forest.

Her favorites include the movie “Thor Ragnarok,” cheesburgers, the TV show “Steven Universe,” the book “The Forgotten Warrior” and her middle school art teacher.

Coaches or ADs should send nominations to Unsung Heroes writer Michael Muldoon at