Badminton: Game, set, match


Jotham Israel, Sports Writer

H-F’s varsity badminton team had a historically successful season, and for some of the players, they went out with a bang.

The Vikings dominated their way to a 24-1-4 record, hosted sectionals, had five players compete for state and won sectionals for the first time 1997, according to the IHSA.

Head Coach Rachel Fassl led a team dominated by upperclassmen to arguably the best season in program history. She credits her team’s success to their chemistry.

“The best way to summarize the season is that it’s been a family. It’s been an extraordinary experience to watch the players grow not only as badminton players, but as human beings,” Fassl said.

The experience was in fact extraordinary for the players, especially for the seniors on the team. The bond between the team was strong as the season unraveled.

“This has been one of the best experiences of high school for me,” senior Serena Webster said. “This team is more than just a team to me; it’s a family. I grew up with them over the course of these four years.”

Success was the result of that growth. Juniors Macy Campin and Jurni Tollerson and seniors Aisha Ibrahim and Caroline Larocca went to state for doubles while junior Laila London went to state for singles.

“This is the strongest our team has been top to bottom since I’ve been here,” Fassl said. The girls have played really hard, they played really well, they worked for where they’re at, and it was really exciting.”

Ibrahim cherished her season highlighted by competing at state and winning a Sportsmanship Award at the Spring Athletic Awards on May 16.

“I felt this moment of pride and joy for all of my work and commitment put into badminton,” Ibrahim said. “We came out just straight dominating, and people then realized that H-F was a team that can play like that.”

Ibrahim and Tollerson represented one of H-F’s doubles teams while the pairing of Larocca and Campin represented the other team. Both teams made it to the second round of the doubles championships.

Larocca and Campin made it to the fourth round of the consolation bracket before losing to Rhea Shah and Christina Joseph from Glenbrook South.

There were 12 players on this year’s team: six seniors and six juniors. The team is going to have to fill in the holes of the seniors.

Ibrahim is not only proud of the team this year, but also has a high level of confidence for the juniors coming back next season.

“This year we definitely let people know that we’re H-F badminton players, and the juniors are going to carry that on,” Ibrahim said.

She didn’t have to wait to long for a junior to prove her point. Campin was awarded with both the Most Valuable Player and Most Improved Player in badminton.

The team had an all-round extraordinary 2019 season. Now they look to carry that success into the 2020 season.