Badminton: Lincoln-Way Central’s Jana Mudrock aims to be singles sensation
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media May 15, 2014 8:28PM
Lincoln-Way Central's Jana Mudrock | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media
GIRLS STATE BADMINTON
WHEN: Friday and Saturday
WhHERE: Eastern Illinois University, Charleston
SOUTHLAND SINGLES QUALIFIERS
Jessica Gomez (T.F. South), Jana Mudrock (Lincoln-Way Central), Gina Stuckart
(Oak Forest), Tara Hill (Oak Lawn), Stephanie McDonald (Lincoln-Way West),
Maddie Sheehan (Sandburg), Jessica Miller (Lockport), Bri Walker (T.F. South),
Claire Hilgenbrink (Lincoln-Way Central), Katie Sinwelski (Homewood-Flossmoor), Beth Przekwas (Andrew, Ashley Godawski (Sandburg), Cassie Ruettiger
(Lincoln-Way West), Haley Egelhof (Lockport).
SOUTHLAND DOUBLES QUALIFIERS
Cassie Breshock and Jenna Pasko (T.F. South), Araceli Lozano and Marisola Onate (Lockport), Divinity Burgos and Delayne Weston (Lincoln-Way West), Amanda Bednarczyk and Emily Konchan (Andrew), Rocheni Calalang and Elizabeth Doory (Reavis), Agnieszka Szudy and Julia Hernandez (Stagg), Sara Piortrowski and Sara Teichman (Lincoln-Way East), Paula Rodriguez and Cameron Crosby (T.F. South), Beth Heise and Hannah Sigrist (Lincoln-Way West), Margaret Kolyvas and Maria Brown (Lincoln-Way Central), Jen Inczauskis and Lauren Hueckstaedt (Lockport), Nicole Bernardi and Nina Vinotai (Andrew), Leslie Bonthron and Elizabeth Hrymak (Homewood-Flossmoor).
Updated: June 17, 2014 2:37PM
It was the end of her junior season, and Lincoln-Way Central’s Jana Mudrock briefly talked with her coach Liz Karales.
A state-qualifying doubles player for two straight seasons, Mudrock was about to switch things up.
“We talked about it some last year knowing my partner was going to graduate,” Mudrock said. “We had known for a while that my senior year would be a singles year for me.”
Has it ever.
After winning Central’s sectional meet last week, Mudrock heads to the state tournament as one of the top-seeded players.
The two-day singles and doubles tournament begins Friday in Charleston. Mudrock, the No. 7 seed, opens vs. DeKalb’s Emily Roelfsema.
Both the singles and doubles tournament will play three championship rounds and four consolation rounds Friday.
For Mudrock, a year’s worth of work hopefully will pay off in a big way. In the offseason, she devoted herself to a heavy workload of conditioning and weightlifting to prep for the singles side.
With no partner to work with, there’s far more ground to cover, and Mudrock intended to be ready.
“Being in shape is a lot more important, so I focused on logging a lot more miles, running a lot faster and longer to build up that endurance for this season,” Mudrock said. “Mostly that, but then weights too, more than I did last season.”
Then there was the strategy, working on different shots with different styles with no one else to rely on.
With one of the area’s strongest teams around her, Mudrock hit the ground running.
In winning the SouthWest Suburban Red’s singles title, she helped Lincoln-Way Central to a second-place team finish. A week later, Mudrock rolled through the sectional, beating her friend and rival from Sandburg, Ashley Godawski (the No. 8 seed at state), in a back-and-forth three-set win.
Now, Mudrock’s attention is all about state, where she’s made it twice as a doubles player. As a sophomore, she won two matches with Veronica Baldermann before losing in the fourth round of the consolation bracket.
Last season, as a junior with Catrina Cimaroli, Mudrock advanced to the fifth round of the consolation bracket. With one last shot, she wants to make the most of it to a top-five finish.
“It’s been crazy all season with a lot of hard work,” Mudrock said. “I think I’ve made the transition smoothly, and I’m very excited to go ahead with this. Ultimately, placing would be awesome, but I don’t want to jinx anything. That’s my ultimate goal, to place on Saturday.”