The last individual to repeat as state badminton champion was Hinsdale Central’s Karishma Kollipara in 2005-06, but Lyons junior Stephanie Lin tries not to dwell on equaling that achievement.
After an offseason of playing in tournaments outside of the Chicago area for the first time, Lin is focusing on the little things that she hopes will produce an ending just like last year’s.
Lin became Lyons’ first badminton state champion when she beat Hinsdale South’s Emma Adcock in three sets in May. The victory helped lead Lyons to a sixth place finish in the state tournament.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
The senior went 3-2 in last year’s state tournament. Abbs could be the No. 1 singles player on many teams, but plays behind the state champ. She is one of nine seniors for Lyons this season.
Ritter partnered with fellow senior Amy Wey at the state tournament, but coach Katie Maley plans on breaking up her top doubles team. Ritter will play with Julia Huang this season.
The area’s next freshman phenom might be Yang, who is already ranked No. 23 nationally at Girls singles U-17 by USA Badminton. Yang competed in six tournaments during the past season and won the Midwest Regional Junior and the Yonex IBC Junior championships.
Wey’s new partner is Samantha McClary, which will provide the Red Devils’ top two doubles with better matchups. “Both [Ritter and Wey] are so strong, both are so powerful and both are good in the back,” Hinsdale coach Maley said.