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STATE CHAMPS: Badminton wins Perry’s first state team title

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Badminton wins State Championship

Badminton wins State Championship

AZPreps365

AZPreps365

Badminton wins State Championship

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Three decades ago the U.S hockey team performed an unbelievable miracle, beating the invincible U.S.S.R. team en route to the 1980 Olympic gold medal.

Likewise, the PHS badminton team also slayed a giant who had previously had their number.

Two of the past of three seasons, rival Xavier Prep has topped the Pumas in both regular and postseason meetings, but this year was different.

In a magical season, Perry posted its first ever undefeated campaign (18-0), including a season sweep of the Gators and an eventual 5-0 semifinal ousting of their rival.

The difference between the Miracle on Ice and the dominant Pumas? It was more than destiny, more than luck – it was the fact that PHS had unmatched depth, talent and chemistry.

“In the history of badminton in Arizona, no one has ever seen what they have done,” principal Dan Serrano said.

The Pumas dominated Arizona, outscoring their opponents in all matches 147-3. This was all due the difference this year by having a talented depth.

“We were solid 1-7 and we play with 6. From number 2-6 they could beat each other every day,” coach Lerina Johnson said.

She went on to explain that most of the girls are trained the same way, as they practice together at a badminton pro or badminton center. This way, the players gain fierce competition against other teams, and each other.

But not only are they trained the same way, each individual on the team has their own strength. By using each player’s unique talent, the Pumas were able to keep dominating the court.

Johnson said, “we play with different styles – I let them play their own styles and fine tune them as an individual. We focus on their strength.”

Individual state champion senior Jillian Lagasca, has many strengths on the court and focuses on one aspect of the game, “I just stay mentally strong – keep things in and stay calm during [my] matches.”

This season Johnson wanted her players to pl;ay loose to lift up their confidence and spiking the energy on the court, “we had a lot of fun. These girls really take on my energy.”

By taking on the enthusiasm of Johnson, the badminton team had an astonishing season. They dominated the court in all matches rounding up with three state titles – singles, doubles, and team. Finally crossing the threshold of state runners-up in the last two seasons, the Pumas took the state championship by storm. Johnson said, “we had the best season for definitely school history, but also possibly state history.”

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STATE CHAMPS: Badminton wins Perry’s first state team title