The ETHS varsity badminton team’s season came to a close last Saturday after one of their best seasons in school history. The girls, led by head coach Sydney Siegal, had an incredible regular season this year, placing second in the conference behind New Trier.

They also sent four players, all seniors, to the state tournament at Eastern Illinois University last weekend: Meredith Nelson, Jane Handle, Rachel Kaminski and Nikimera Moore. Kaminski and Moore competed as a doubles team, and Nelson and Handle competed in singles.

“Just to have competed in the state tournament was an unforgettable experience,” said senior captain Nelson. “Playing the sport you love in a setting like this is just so incredible and it brings out the best in each player.”

“We knew that we had a chance to get down state at the beginning of the year because of our chemistry as a team and our passion for the sport,” said Kaminski. “Being here and playing is something that none of us will ever forget, and it brought a lot of attention to the sport of badminton at our school, which is great. “Handle and the doubles team of Kaminski and Moore were eliminated in the the third round. Nelson lost a heartbreaker in the quarterfinals, but placed 9th in the state.

“It was a very tough loss, but I am very pleased with the way I played, as well as how our team played,” said Nelson. “We came out here and gave it our all, and that is all you can do in a tournament like this. I think this year’s team has set the pace for future teams, and given them a hope that they, too, can reach the state tournament. All you have to do is play together, have confidence in one another, and always believe in yourself and your teammates.”

The success of this year’s team shined a much-needed light on the often forgotten, yet exciting, sport of badminton, establishing a strong foundation for the future of the sport at ETHS.