Xavier Prep badminton players represented their school well in Friday’s (Oct. 21) opening round of the Division I state singles and doubles tournament at Glendale Independence.
Both of the Gators’ doubles teams won twice and will continue play on Saturday (Oct. 22). Singles player Maddie Reinhart won her opening match and nearly pulled off a big comeback in the second round before falling.
The senior doubles team of Kiana Valentova-Macdonald and Emily Woodrow is the tourney’s top seed and played like it.
In Friday’s opener, they defeated Anthem Boulder Creek’s Lauren Calabrese and Jessica Rausch 15-9, 15-6. Next up was Mesa Dobson’s Tram Ngo and Stephanie Liu, and the Xavier team rolled to a 15-2, 15-1 triumph.
Xavier’s other senior doubles team of Tatum Clarke and Annie Kamps also is a high seed at No. 6. Clarke and Kamps posted a 15-2, 15-5 first-round win over Mesa Red Mountain’s Janae Ziebell and Monica Flores. In the second round, Clarke and Kamps dominated Mesa Skyline’s Clara Missman and Shelsee Ybanez, 15-0, 15-3.
Reinhart, unseeded in singles, looked strong in her opener against Phoenix Horizon’s Jorey Cohen, earning an 11-2, 11-5 victory. The second round contest against Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor’s sixth-seeded Sidney Nguyen was different. Nguyen proved to be a more formidable foe, taking an 11-2 win in the opener. Reinhart came back to win the second game 11-6, and Nguyen claimed the decisive third game 11-6.
Action resumes at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Valentova-Macdonald and Woodrow will meet eighth-seeded Allison Price and Hannah Kirby of Glendale Mountain Ridge in a quarterfinal match. The Clarke-Kamps duo’s quarterfinal match will be against third-seeded Mesa Mountain View’s Amber Beeney and Ashley Church.
Team badminton state tournament – Xavier, which has won three state titles and nine overall, is the top seed and has earned a first-round bye when the event begins on Monday (Oct. 24).
The Gators will host the first two rounds, which are played back-to-back. No. 8 Mesa Red Mountain takes on No. 9 Phoenix Horizon in the opener at 4 p.m., and the winner moves on to face Xavier at approximately 6 p.m.
A victory by Xavier on Monday would send the Gators to the semifinals on Wednesday (Oct. 26) at Phoenix Desert Vista in Ahwatukee. The championship match will be held at Phoenix Sunnyslope on Thursday (Oct. 27).