Badminton sends all six sectional qualifiers to state

Successful season capped off with strong showing at Eastern Illinois U.

New Trier Girls Badminton team recently went to state at Eastern Illinois University on Friday and Saturday, May 10 and 11, after a victory at the sectional tournament.

For several years, this team has been consistently winning sectionals and then heading to the state tournament.

Six players from the team participated at sectionals. This year, all of them reached state. New Trier was one of 10 teams who had all six players that played at sectionals, qualify for state.

Immediately before going to sectionals, the team had to surpass their first postseason challenge: the conference tournament.

“We ended up winning the tournament, which was a sweet way to end the season,” said co-captain Naomi Aisen.

During sectionals, the two New Trier doubles teams placed first and second at the tournament, sweeping the rest of the competition.

“The two NT doubles teams took first and second and played each other for the championship which is always the goal,” said Aisen.

At the state tournament, there were two brackets: one for doubles teams and one for singles teams. The  double elimination tournament began at 8 am on Friday morning and went through the early evening.

It continued and eventually concluded on Saturday, but only a certain number of successful players make it until then.

“If any member of the team happen to be in the top 32 doubles or singles teams, then they will play on Saturday morning,” said Aisen.

During the tournament, co-captains Tess Fallon and Holly Fessler won two matches and the other doubles team won one.

“My partner and I won two matches and the other doubles team won one but had to forfeit because one of them got injured, which was a bummer for them but things like that happen,” said Fallon.

Fallon was also injured for majority of the year and wasn’t sure she would be able to play at the state tournament.

“Honestly, I was just grateful to be there. I’ve had an injury all year and didn’t even think I would be able to. But we ended up having an amazing season and state run, so that was awesome,” explained Fallon.

Although Fallon and Fessler didn’t place, they still enjoyed going to the tournament and watching the different matches.

“It did not go as we had planned but at the end of the day I was just really glad I got to be at the tournament with her,” said Fessler

Mia Gabelev is a first time qualifier for the state tournament. She was the only one of six players who hadn’t been qualified for state before.

“I won my first match, which was a tough one, but I lost my next two,” stated Gabelev.

The team is proud of its successful 2019 season. Going to sectionals and having all six girls qualify isn’t easy, but winning state will be even more challenging.

“I think our team did really well this season,” concluded Gabelev. “We have a talented group of girls that care about the game. We’re really going to miss our seniors because they are so vital to our team and experience.”