Blogs / Features
Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
Mountain Pointe captures team badminton championshipOct 18, 2012
By Don Ketchum
Anybody who says that badminton players aren’t athletes had better think again.
They feature great hand-eye coordination, agility, quickness, and yes, even strength.
Phoenix Mountain Pointe’s Geneva Heinkel used the latter on Thursday night (Oct. 18).
She needed it to hold the shiny state championship trophy over her head for photos after she and her teammates defeated Phoenix Xavier Prep 5-2 at Phoenix Sunnyslope High.
“Yes, it was heavy, but it was worth it,’’ Heinkel said, laughing.
Heinkel and doubles teammate Sabrina Martinez put the Pride over the top with a two-set victory over Xavier’s Nataline Chapin and Amber Whatley.
It was the eighth state title for Mountain Pointe – the most recent was 2007. And the Pride also have two runner-up trophies – the most recent in 2009.
It was fitting that Heinkel and Martinez came through in the deciding match. The seniors are best friends, have been playing together for four years and only last week won the state doubles crown at Glendale Independence.
“During that last game (on Thursday), we started to say to ourselves, “We’ve got this,’ ’’ Martinez said. “It was a big relief. It was the last time we played together, and that’s what makes this mean so much more.’’
Said Heinkel: “I’m ecstatic. It was a great way to end it. It was a great season. We practiced hard every day and all the girls really improved.’’
Mountain Pointe, which took a 4-2 lead into the doubles portion of the competition, got singles victories from Kiyoko Hashimoto, Vashnavi Koka, Martinez and Heinkel. Xavier got singles wins from Areta Buness and Baani Khurana.
“It feels pretty good,’’ said Mountain Pointe coach Pom Brown said of the win. “We worked hard all season and these are all good kids. It’s a relief, and now we can relax.’’
Xavier, which won the title a year ago, lost a number of players to graduation. But coach Nancy Meyer and most associated with the program were pleased with the outcome this season, given the fact that the Gators have a young team – they only had four seniors.