Badminton prepares vigorously to dominate this season… again

Badminton has been one of the strongest teams over the last four years. After winning the last four consecutive state championships, this year’s team has a lot to live up to. Coach Lerina Johnson has goals in place to help this year’s roster develop the right skills.

As the team prepares for another season, Johnson is looking forward to seeing what the players can accomplish. The lineup for this year’s team shows talent and determination among the girls. They are working hard to replace the spots of graduated seniors, while also developing new strategies and fostering good chemistry between the players. Senior Nikhita Jayaraj, last year’s number two seed in singles and number one seed in doubles, will be playing with a new partner this year after her former partner, Ashley Rodarte, graduated. 

“If I can get them to be consistent and play solid games throughout, then that would be a huge goal for us,” said Johnson. She later went on to say for the returning juniors, now current seniors, “if they can play under emotional control and not be nervous, they have the skill, they have the knowledge, they have what it takes to be good… they just have to have the confidence in them that we have in them and show that out on the court.” 

Senior Kaylee Ross said,  “I think that I’ll do well, but I tend to get kind of in my head sometimes but I’ll get past that.” This is an issue many athletes deal with and usually lessens over time and experience. She continued to say “I’m looking forward to playing the teams that we have been playing for a while and playing them again for the last time this season and seeing how we are going to do.” 

 “[I used] goal setting and self reflection, for sure. I’ve used that in the past and it’s really helpful”, said senior Lauren Faust. She mentioned that staying consistent in playing is a primary factor in success. She’s very excited for her senior and final year with her teammates and friends. The girls are continuously working to gain confidence in themselves to show it out on the court.

With the hopes there will be no interference during the season due to COVID-19, the team is back to running practices every day after school. The girls’ badminton team typically play two to three matches each week and compete in tournaments every couple of weeks. They have their first game against Mountain Ridge on August 26, 2021.