Sara Napoli, of Lockport. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 26, 2013 6:27AM
A third-place finisher at sectionals last season, Sara Napoli won two matches to help the Porters to a top-20 state finish.
Napoli and teammate Kelly Miotti, a fellow returning state qualifier, form a potent 1-2 singles punch.
Does it make you mad when people talk about badminton as just a backyard sport?
Oh, yeah. The boys at school always say they’ll play, but when it comes down to it I beat them by double digits. Then they make excuses.
How did you get into the sport?
My older sister, Lauren, played at Lockport. I was on the team with her when I was a freshman.
Can you take her?
She went to state her senior year, but, yeah, I can. I’m a singles player and she played doubles, so that’s an advantage for me.
The shots aren’t different, just the strategy. In singles you try to make them move because they have more court to cover.
Do you play other sports?
I used to play softball, but you have to play year-round if you want to be one of the top players.
Where do you play badminton year-round?
I’ve been playing up north at the Shannon Pohl Badminton Academy in Vernon Hills. It’s more than an hour drive, but it’s helped me. I’ve been exposed to a lot of other state qualifiers and Shannon individualizes practices.
You’re stranded on a deserted island, what food do you want airdropped to you?
King crab legs.
Dream prom date?
Everyone always says Channing Tatum. I’ll go with him because he’s a good dancer.
If you could be on any reality TV show, what would it be?
Not “Jersey Shore” ... not “The Bachelor” ... I think I’ll go with “Survivor”.
What’s your best asset on the court?
My speed. That’s why I prefer singles. Speed is pretty important and so is your endurance.
What was going to the state tournament like?
I was nervous, but it was a good experience. Now I’m looking forward to going again with last year under my belt.
What’s one thing you’ve noticed about badminton that others might not?
The older generation seems to appreciate badminton, but the younger kids don’t.
As told to Logan Malloy