Badminton: Jessica Gomez powers T.F. South to sectional championship
T.F. South’s Jessica Gomez keeps adding to her trophy case — and to her list of admirers.
Gomez seized the singles crown Thursday at the T.F. South Sectional, improving her record to 52-1 in the process. Players from Morton, one of five teams in the competition, watched from the sideline in admiration.
“Look how high she jumps on her smash,” one said.
“She’s like Air Jordan,” another said.
Gomez leaped her way to the finals, outscoring her first three opponents 126-50. She defeated teammate Andriana Johnson 21-13, 21-8 in the championship round.
“A lot of people comment on that, ‘Oh, she’s jumping so high,’ ” Gomez said. “I didn’t think I was Superwoman flying around out there.
“I do like to jump when I smash, because it makes you hit harder when you do. Our coach (Bob Tengstrand) teaches us to do it.”
Gomez and Johnson weren’t the only 1-2 finish for T.F. South. The Rebels’ doubles teams met in the final as top-seeded Shannon Pollard and Jenna Pasko prevailed over the No. 2-seeded Cassie Breshock and Jhennie Corpuz 21-18, 21-13.
Pollard and Pasko finished third in state last season, while Breshock and Corpuz were ninth. Thursday, both teams were forced to outlast Lincoln-Way Central tandems in the semifinals.
“Lincoln-Way Central put up a good fight,” Pollard said. “But the most important thing is being able to go back to state.”
Central’s third-seeded team of Catrina Cimaroli and Jana Mudrock managed to battle back in the consolation bracket to finish third over Andrew’s Nicole Bernardi and Nina Vinotai. The top-four finishers from the singles and doubles competition advanced to the May 10 state finals at Eastern Illinois.
Andrew found additional success with its singles players. Shannon Normoyle topped Casey O’Donnell for third place and both will move on to EIU.
In the team standings, T.F. South finished first with 18 points, Andrew (101/2) took second and Central (71/2) was third.