By Nelson Coffin
The same motivational issues that hampered Roland Park County School’s bid to win a badminton championship in 2017 did not grip the Reds this spring.
In fact, after going unbeaten in league play, Roland Park used that momentum to earn its fourth A Conference title — and eighth overall — under coach Jane Seibert on Friday afternoon in the championship tournament on its home court.
“It was maturity, focus and effort,” Seibert said about the 2018 Reds. “Every player had a winning record. The most losses anyone had was two. And if we had Jen Block (season-ending injury) we wouldn’t had to worry (about winning the championship). We totally clicked on the court.”
Siebert said that “the whole season was a concern” without Block in the fold, although her anxiety gave way to relief by the way Roland Park (32 points) pulled away from runner-up Friends (22) and third-place Garrison Forest (21) in the postseason tournament.
With a 21-14, 21-14 win in doubles by Alex Rubin and Ellie Del Guercio over NDP’s Grace Gercken and Brooke Challandes and a runner-up performance by Alina Lemke against Friends star Rita Lee, 21-7, 21-4, in the singles final, the Reds were able to win going away.
“I had total confidence in the doubles,” Seibert said. “They analyzed the other team and knew what shots to take. My kids really fought through.”
In the B Conference, St. Timothy’s (32 points) was able to deadlock St. Paul’s School for Girls (32) to share the crown ahead of third-place Maryvale (30) on the strength of a gutsy outing in the singles final by Cathy Cao, who edged John Carroll’s Lily Chen, 21-9, 24-26, 21-8.
SPSG’s Nia Lewis and Tina Cao dropped a tough doubles final to Angelia Yang Lucy Wickham of the Institute of Notre Dame, 21-19, 21-12 while the Gators’ Emilie Mooney and Ella Goetze took the consolation final to salvage an important point
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