Women’s badminton places ninth at state


Graphic by Matthew Risinger

Madaket Chiarieri, staff reporter

At this year’s badminton conference meet, seniors Emily McClanahan and Sophia Lau played a doubles match in which McClanahan hit Lau in the head and the bird ended up going over the net. The two burst out laughing, leaving their opponents annoyed on the other side of the net. The team’s ability to laugh off mistakes is just one of the many things that Coach Kimura loves about this team.

“This was a once in a lifetime team,” Kimura said. “I will always have fond memories of everyone.”

Following a season in which the team was undefeated in conference, the goals for this season include winning conference and sectionals, as well as qualifying some players for the state tournament, Kimura says. There are a lot of strong players on the team this year, with Captain Christina Moy alongside McClanahan and Lau, according to Kimura.

“Even our low players are really strong,” McClanahan said. “Almost anyone on the lineup could some days win or some days lose to anyone else on the lineup.”

Last year, the team had only five seniors as opposed to this year’s nine seniors. According to Moy, the team is overall more focused on the sport and all are competing for state. They have grown into smarter players as the season progressed, and they have learned new skills while improving, Moy believes. This year’s team is a rare environment of players, according to Kimura.

“This team works hard and it has paid off,” Kimura said. “No drama or divas, just a good badminton team.”

So far, the only loss for the badminton team was against Stevenson, the team’s strongest competitor, McClanahan said. They have achieved their goal of winning the sectional title, beating Glenbrook North, Deerfield, Maine South, Walter Payton and Zion in that match.

“Stevenson is [one of our] best competitors because they are very, very good,” McClanahan said. “Our closest dual meet was New Trier, but we still won that pretty handily.”

The team has had a lot of fun cheering on their teammates this season, McClanahan said. Taking the cheering to the next level has been able to motivate those players on the court to play their best and win the point at hand, according to McClanahan. Although a bit obnoxious, it gets opponents annoyed and gives South confidence both on and off the court, a memory that McClanahan will always have.

“It’s been really fun for us,” McClanahan said. “We just think it’s funny and it’s nice to be able to have the confidence to do that and not mind that others are annoyed by it. It’s a fun thing that we do as a team.”

Having the ability to not get upset over things that can’t be controlled and playing to the best of their abilities are two strengths of the team this season, Kimura said. The badminton team finished ninth in state, after qualifying two doubles teams and two singles players for the state tournament.