Girls badminton season wraps up

Sophomore+junior+varsity+player+Claire+Furibondo+prepares+to+receive+an+incoming+shot+at+a+match+on+March+19.

Photo courtesy of Meera Dullur

Sophomore junior varsity player Claire Furibondo prepares to receive an incoming shot at a match on March 19.

Athena Chen, Correspondent

The Naperville Central girls badminton team ended their season on April 1, finishing 34th in the Illinois High School Association state series. 

Both coaches and players were satisfied with the outcome of the season and are eagerly looking forward to next year.

“We’ve made a lot of growth in our short season. [We’re seeing] girls who have never played improve and seeing girls who have some experience really grow,” said freshman girls badminton coach Kathleen Cervera.

Over the course of two months, Central’s team competed at 12 matches, 11 of them against the Dupage Valley Conference schools individually—Neuqua Valley, Naperville North, Metea Valley, Waubonsie Valley and Dekalb—and one against all five at the Dupage Valley Conference. Athletes were expected to wear a mask correctly at all times, social distance, use hand sanitizer and spray down shared equipment such as birdies and rackets. 

Varsity coach Tamara Burke said that she was impressed with how her athletes dealt with the pandemic. 

“I think that the girls have done a really good job,” Burke said. “I think that they’ve adjusted very well. I feel like [COVID-19] really hasn’t impacted them too much, besides the fact that they’re wearing a mask.” 

Freshman Yashvi Sanam also echoed feelings of satisfaction on her improvement over the season. 

“I’ve gotten much better,” she said. “Before the season, I could barely play against someone.”

Since the 2020 spring badminton season was cut short before any games were held, many returning sophmores didn’t have the same experience they would have had at the junior varsity level. The coaching team chose not to hold tryouts this season, and instead sorted new players into experience levels by grade.

Next year, athletes and coaches are looking forward to playing both doubles and singles matches, improving their reaction skills and seeing some past teammates who couldn’t participate because of the pandemic.

“[I just want] to have a normal badminton season,” Cervera said.