Badminton: T.F. South repeats as state champion
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media May 17, 2014 4:34PM
Updated: June 23, 2014 12:57PM
At the 2013 state tournament, T.F. South clinched the title but a debilitating injury and a huge loss late dampened the celebration.
T.F. South coach Bob Tengstrand vowed if the team would do it again, things would be different.
Saturday, they certainly were. T.F. South (16 points) repeated as state champ, outlasting Buffalo Grove (15 points) for the title at Eastern Illinois in Charleston.
“Our focus if we won was to be happy,” Tengstrand said. “Everyone played well, and we’re very happy. We had lots of balloons, streamers, pictures and silly string. All the girls showed me they could win easy and win under pressure, too.”
T.F. South is the first team to win back-to-back badminton titles since Downers Grove North in 2003 and ’04.
Leading the charge for the Rebels were Cassie Breshock and Jenna Pasko, who won the doubles title with a 21-19, 23-21 victory over Buffalo Grove’s Julie Jambrone and Katelyn Sommers.
Breshock and Pasko went a perfect 41-0 for the season.
“The state title means a lot to us, and it was a huge win for the team,” Breshock said. “It’s a great feeling. We’re all celebrating and smiling. We were really focused, and that helped our mind-set and helped make it happen.”
T.F. South’s Jessica Gomez, the top-seeded singles player, lost in Saturday’s semifinals to Hinsdale South’s Judy Yang in two sets but came out strong in the third-place match. Gomez rolled to a 21-9, 22-20 win over Fremd’s Angela Wu to clinch the third-place trophy.
“(In the semifinals) I made more errors, and she just beat me,” Gomez said. “I was pretty happy I was able to do better coming off the injury. I probably played the best match I’ve played all year (in the third-place match).”
Gomez tore the ACL in her left knee in last year’s third-place match at state.
Paula Rodriguez and Cameron Crosby lost both their matches Saturday but won three matches Friday to add three points to the Rebels’ score. Bri Walker won a consolation match Friday, adding a half-point to the total.
“We share it with everyone at T.F. South,” Tengstrand said. “It’s a total team effort. It’s everybody whenever we win. We’re tickled pink.”
Lockport (71/2 points) finished fourth, Lincoln-Way Central (6 points) 12th and Andrew (41/2 points) 15th.