May 16, 2017

Stevenson's Shi brings home badminton title

It has been 12 years since a freshman has been crowned state champion at the IHSA badminton state finals. In the 41 years that the underappreciated sport has been part of the high school association's state championship series there have been just three. Saturday afternoon, Stevenson High School's Esther Shi became the fourth first-year prep athlete to ascend to the top of the podium.

Stevenson's Esther Shi hits an overhead shot
May 13, 2017 - Charleston, IL - Stevenson's Esther Shi hits an overhead shot during championship match against Naperville North's Emma Lin. Shi, a freshman and the #1 seed, won this year's title with a 21-13, 21-11 victory over Lin. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Shi, the #2 seed, never took her foot of the throttle in the title match rushing to a 21-13, 21-11, victory over Naperville North freshman Emma Lin. Scoring eight of the first 10 points in the opening game and forcing Lin to work against a nine point deficit most of the second game, the Patriots' singles specialist finished her first state outing with a 6-0 record.

Not one of her adversaries posted more than 25 points total against her in the two-day tournament.

After Shi secured her individual title, duo May Ling and Jenny Yang took the floor with a shot at becoming doubles champions. After knocking off challengers from Lake Park, Lyons Township, Naperville North, Fremd and Matea Valley on their way to title match on Friday. Earning second place points toward the team score Saturday, the pair fell 21-17, 21-13 in their afternoon bout against Neuqua Valley's Joyce Chen and Shrinithi Venkatesan.

In addition to her runner-up medal, Lin's runner-up performance helped the Huskies secure third-place in the team race. Neuqua Valley was this year's second place finisher in the overall school standings.

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