|The IHSA Girls Badminton State Finals will take place on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston on Friday and Saturday, May 12-13. 56 total schools are represented in the 64-player Singles and 64-team Doubles brackets. In addition to crowning Singles and Doubles state champions, schools will accumulate points with each victory, culminating with the crowning of a team state champion. Schools can qualify a maximum of six players, capped with two playing singles, and two pairs playing doubles. 10 schools enter the weekend with the maximum number of qualifiers.
Earlier this week, a committee of coaches seeded the Top 4 players in each bracket, who are then separated into different quadrants within the bracket. The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds are set, while the two singles players/doubles tandems designated as the No. 3/4 seeds are interchangeable between the two seed positions. The committee then seeds three groups of four players (5-8, 9-12, 13-16). The players in those groupings are assigned to the remainder of the bracket, with provisions made to try and prevent players from the same high schools or same Sectionals from having to matchup until as late as possible in the tournament.
In 2015, Neuqua Valley earned its first IHSA Girls Badminton Team State Championship by edging Buffalo Grove 15 to 14.5. Last year, the Wildcats repeated as state champions with an eight-point cushion between runner-up Hinsdale South, the largest margin of victory at the finals since 2010.
Neuqua Valley now bids to become the second school to ever win three straight state championships and the first since Andrew won three in a row from 2000-2002. The Wildcats welcome back junior Lauren Ho, who is in the 5-8 Singles seeding group after placing second individually a year ago and fourth in 2015. Neuqua Valley also has the No. 1 seed in the Doubles bracket, as the junior tandem of Joyce Chen and Shrinithi Venkatesan return after falling to their own teammates in the 2016 Doubles State Championship match.
Hinsdale South’s runner-up finish a year ago marked its sixth trophy in program history, which includes three state titles, all of which have come since 1999. This weekend marks the end of a distinguished career for Hornets senior Judy Yang, the defending Singles State Champion. Yang, the 3-4 Singles seed this weekend, has reached the championship match in each of her high school seasons, finishing second in 2014 and 2015, before last year’s crown. She can become the ninth player in state history to win back-to-back titles in the Singles field if she repeats.
Naperville North placed third in the team field a year ago and is just a few years removed from its first state title in school history (2011). The Huskies have a budding star in freshman Emma Lin, who is the top Singles seed entering the weekend, while the senior tandem of Grace Chen and Kathleen Nie are ranked in the 9-12 seeding group in the Doubles field.
Buffalo Grove finished a half point shy of taking home a share of third-place last season. The three-time runner-up program takes another run at its first team title with the senior Doubles tandem of Megan Gamber and Katie Jarosz (3-4 seed) leading the way. The pair reached the consolation semifinals of the state tournament a year ago.
Stevenson’s lone IHSA Badminton trophy came in its state title season (2012), but the 2017 squad could be in position to add to that total. Patriot freshman Esther Shi is the No. 2 Singles seed, while the senior doubles team of May Ling and Jenny Yang are in the 5-8 Doubles seeding group. Senior Ashley Richard (Singles 9-12) advanced to the consolation semis in Singles last year.
Fremd is another program on the rise with two state titles (2007, 2009) and a runner-up finish (2013) in the past decade. The Vikings welcome back a strong group that includes the No. 2 seed in the Doubles tournament in sophomores Hannah Chen and Sharon Wu, as well as a pair of Top 8 ranked Singles players (Fr. Kellie Liu 3-4 & So. Jenn Li 5-8). Li was fourth a year ago in the Singles field as a freshman.
Hinsdale Central has a pair of Top 5 team finishes in the past three seasons, and hopes to return to its state championship form of 2008 with Top 8 seeded entries in both tournaments. Sophomore Cindy Tang (5-8) represents the Red Devils in the Singles field, while seniors Angela Li and Lana Milllman (5-8) are back after reaching the semifinals of the consolation bracket a year ago.
Waubonsie Valley junior Vaishali Manoharan, sixth in 2016, rounds out the Singles players seeded in the Top 8 this weekend, while Wheaton Warrenville South’ sophomore Julianna Rylko (9-12) is also back after making the consolation quarterfinals last year, a spot Lincoln-Way North senior Cassie Ruettiger (Singles 9-12) fell one win shy of reaching in 2016.
The final two Doubles tandems ranked in the Top 8 this weekend belong to Palatine and Downers Grove North in Samantah Ortiz and Kamila Czyszczon, and Annie Bedalov and Natalie White, respectively. The latter won a pair of matches at the 2016 state tourney.
41st annual State Series
Eastern Illinois University Charleston
Student Recreation Center
Friday, May 19
9:15 a.m. - Opening Ceremony
9:45 p.m. - Singles & Doubles matches begin
Saturday, May 20
9:30 a.m. - Singles Quarterfinals
10:10 a.m. - Doubles Quarterfinals
11:00 a.m. - Singles/Doubles Consolation Quarterfinals
Noon - Singles/Doubles Semifinals
1:00 p.m. - Singles Finals
1:30 p.m. - Doubles Finals
2:00 - Awards
$5 per day
No broadcasts currently scheduled for this event
QUALIFIERS & RESULTS
Results: Friday Saturday
OFFICIAL STATE FINAL
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HISTORY & RECORDS
2017 State Series Results
Record Book & Past Champions