Girls badminton commences, shoots for State

Team adjusts to new athletes, hosts ‘Orange Crush’ event


Julia Seffner ‘24 and Aggie Driscoll ‘23 practice drills in the NC upper north gym on March 9 (Garrity/LION)

Katie Garrity, Reporter

Although girls badminton has a short season, beginning late February and the regular season ending in late April, the team has many eventful weeks ahead of them. Split into teams of 14 athletes, freshman, JV, and varsity, head coach Susan McClenahan has high expectations for the season.

“Our ideal goal for this season is to qualify an entire team, which is two singles players and two doubles teams, to the State Tournament,” McClenahan said. “It kind of rotates. Sometimes we’re better in the singles, sometimes better in the doubles. I anticipate a little bit of both this year.” 

While there are many seniors returning to the team this year, the remaining half of the team will be largely underclassmen, as many strong freshmen from last year will be returning as sophomores to compete at the JV and varsity levels. 

“There’s a lot of athletes in the sophomore class that can challenge the varsity girls,” McClenahan said. “We are very competitive, so we really try to make a good run and showing for the state tournament.” 

At State last year, Elle Ownby ‘23 qualified for doubles, with Marris Carli ‘22. Carli graduated last year, but Ownby will be returning as a senior this season, her last out of four seasons. 

“We always know how to work as a team,” she said. “It’s so fun and it’s honestly my favorite time of the year. There’s definitely a lot of new members since the seniors graduated last year, so I’m hoping we can connect and have a smooth season” 

Although badminton is an official sport in IHSA, it is not included in the NCAA, so it’s not common to be competitively involved in college. 

“I don’t have any plans to continue competitive badminton in college, but if they offer intramurals I might try and go,” Ownby said. “Badminton is a really fun sport so I’m going to miss it as a whole, but especially my teammates and the experiences we have with each other and all the bonding activities that we do.”

The girls’ biggest fundraiser of the year is the “Orange Crush” event on March 23 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., McClenahan said. Starting as a pinkout, the badminton team changed their fundraiser to “Orange Crush ” since orange is the color of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. 

“We had a former player and she battled leukemia, and lost her battle,” she said. “One of our former coaches, coach Jack Derning, also had his own personal battle with leukemia. Part of the reason we do this fundraiser is to honor the two of them and to raise funds for leukemia.”

The girls sell T-shirts to raise money for the fundraiser, which also acts as an entry ticket for the event. Anyone can attend after buying a shirt, or making the suggested donation at the door. 

“The other reason we do this is just to get awareness out about badminton and for people to see how fun this is,” McClenahan said. “The girls make a playlist, and we’ve had raffles in the past. It’s a good way to learn about badminton, and it’s a good time to come in and see what we’re all about.”