The home stretch is in sight for XCP senior Areta Buness as she tries to finish her academic and athletic career with a flourish.
She is one of the top players for the Gators’ defending Division I state champion badminton squad and has been a two-time first-team All-American in lacrosse by U.S. Lacrosse.
In the classroom, she has a 4.6 weighted grade-point average, and is considering a pursuit of engineering in college.
“Sometimes it can be harder to defend (a championship) than to win it the first time. We know what we are capable of doing, but we have to keep working and not take anything for granted,’’ Buness said after the Gators’ 9-0 victory over visiting Tempe McClintock on Wednesday (Sept. 24). The XCP junior varsity also won 9-0.
In the 2013 state team tournament, Xavier was battling then-defending champion Phoenix Mountain Pointe (Ahwatukee) down to the wire and it was up to Buness and Hayden Riley to put the Gators over the top in the final doubles match.
Buness and Riley dropped the first game, 10-15, but rallied to win the second game 15-0 and the decisive third game 15-7.
With Riley graduated, Buness has played in quite a few doubles combinations this season.
It can take awhile for the doubles players to communicate effectively, but Buness is confident that the situation will work out.
She played only doubles against McClintock while nursing a sore ankle, but is expected to play singles and doubles when the Gators play in the (Glendale) Independence Invitational on Saturday (Sept. 27).
Buness and four other seniors will be playing their final home match on Tuesday (Sept. 30) against Scottsdale Desert Mountain. The other seniors are Mallory Belknap, Baani Khurana, Maise Porter and Teal Weaver.
Buness enjoys playing singles and the chess-match mentality that goes with it – trying to figure out what the opponent might do, and perhaps catching them off-guard.
As to the keys to her success, she said, “I think I’m good on the returns and trying to tire out the other person.’’
Badminton indeed is a much quicker sport and takes more strength and stamina that one might think at first glance.
“You have to have good quickness and a good reaction time,’’ Buness said.
The same is true with lacrosse, where she is a midfielder and has been the Gators’ scoring leader.
“Offense, defense, you run all over the field,’’ she said.
Part of her interest in lacrosse came from the fact that her older brother, Gage, played at next-door Brophy Prep and for one season at Arizona State.
“It has been really fun. When I first started out, I didn’t think it would be as fun as it is,’’ she said.
Buness likes the challenges that the math curriculum provides, hence an interest in engineering. She isn’t quite sure where she will attend college, although Stanford is a possibility.
In the meantime, she will work hard in sports and school.
Later this fall, she and Xavier will be the host school for the state badminton tournament, and she would like nothing better to bring home another trophy or two.
Xavier varsity 9, Tempe McClintock 0
No. 1 singles – Kirielle Singarajah (X) def. Chloe Perez-Williams (M) 11-8, 11-1.
No. 2 singles – Teal Weaver (X) def. Adriana Puente-R. (M) 11-0, 11-7.
No. 3 singles – Mallory Belknap (X) def. Taylor Ryan (M) 11-3, 11-4.
No. 4 singles – Maisie Porter (X) def. Jolie Lobrutto (M) 11-2, 11-7.
No. 5 singles – Laura Pearl (X) def. Lysette Gonzales (M) 11-2, 11-0.
No. 6 singles – Baani Khurana (X) def. Calista Calvin (M)11-0, 11-1.
No. 1 doubles – Weaver-Belknap (X) def. Perez-Williams –Puente-R. (M) 15-6, 15-11.
No. 2 doubles – Singarajah-Areta Buness (X) def. Ryan-Lobrutto (M) 15-8, 15-1.
No. 3 doubles – Porter-Pearl (X) def. Gonzalez-Calvin (M) 15-0, 15-0.
Xavier junior varsity 9, McClintock 0
No. 1 singles – Katie Russell (X) def. Theint Nwe (M) 11-1, 11-3.
No. 2 singles – Tatum Clarke (X) def. Anniesse Des (M) 11-9, 11-5.
No. 3 singles – Kiana MacDonald (X) def. Vivienne Liebig (M) 11-1, 11-1.
No. 4 singles – Emily Woodrow (X) def. Sajida Elhiber (M) 11-0, 11-2.
No. 5 singles – Julia Blake (X) def. Sofia Brown (M) 11-0, 11-0.
No. 6 singles – Katie Harris (X) def. Siobhan Davis (M) 11-2, 11-0.
No. 1 doubles – Russell-Clarke (X) def. Nwe-Des. (M) 15-1, 15-1.
No. 2 doubles – MacDonald-Woodrow (X) def. Liebig- Elhiber (M) 15-2, 15-3.
No. 3 doubles – Blake-Harris (X) def. Brown-Davis (M) 15-9, 15-2.