Badminton: Sandburg’s Ashley Godawski turns defeat into motivation for senior season
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media May 4, 2014 10:24PM
Ashley Godawski for Sandburg Badminton for Spring Photo Day at Andrew High School, Sunday, March 23rd, 2014 in Tinley Park | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 6, 2014 6:24AM
Sandburg’s Ashley Godawski has had plenty of time to think about one loss from last season.
With a chance to qualify for the state tournament as a junior, Godawski lost in the final match, getting as close as possible to state without making it.
She didn’t mope. She didn’t pout.
Godawski was going to turn things around in her senior year. She was going to make the most of her last go-around.
“Losing at sectionals was really heartbreaking,” Godawski said. “It was awful. During the offseason I really dedicated myself to fixing up my errors, bettering myself and improving my mental game. I wanted to go in this season better than last so I’ll make it even further.”
With Sandburg set to compete in the Joliet Central Sectional this week, Godawski is poised to turn things around in a big way.
Godawski, the Eagles’ No. 1 singles player, cruised to the title Thursday at the SouthWest Suburban Blue Conference Tournament. She will take a 39-7 overall record into the sectional.
“Ashley is aware this is her last opportunity to play competitively and advance to the state tournament,” Sandburg coach Kim Huelsman said. “After missing the tournament last year, Ashley has dedicated a tremendous amount of time to enhancing her fundamental play, footwork and mental game.”
Godawski’s contributions go beyond her impressive record. The Eagles lost all five of their state qualifiers (one singles player and four doubles players) from last season, leaving a void at the top.
Both for herself and her team, Godawski stepped up. With a team featuring six juniors, two sophomores and a freshman, Sandburg needed Godawski’s leadership more than ever.
“It is different playing without my old teammates from last year, but it is really nice to have that experience (personally),” Godawski said. “I try to bring that to the younger players. This is what we’ve done in the past, and this is what we can do. Show them that if you work hard, you’re going to go far.”
With the end of her high school career fast approaching, Godawski, win or lose, is aiming to go out on top. The loss last year provided all the motivation to close out strong.
“If I get beat, that’s fine because it’s going to motivate me to want to do better,” Godawski said. “Hopefully, I can play that person again and reverse the results. It motivates me to do better, play better and increase my skills. A loss can be a good thing.”
Huelsman especially is confident in her senior singles player.
“Ashley is a force to be reckoned with and continues to grow and get stronger throughout the season,” Huelsman said. “With the season winding down, Ashley is just getting started.”