Girls badminton preview: Port Washington defends title in wide-open field
Nassau girls badminton is as competitive as it ever has been with multiple teams in the mix to compete for a county title.
Defending champion Port Washington leads the conversation and returns a strong core led by junior Elizabeth Kallenberg, who went 18-0 last year and won the county singles championship.
Junior Lauren Livingston will be competing at second singles after competing as a doubles player last year. First doubles team of juniors Avanti Shroff and Rachel Hanford and the second doubles team of seniors Laura deBruin and Holly Hubsher add depth to the Vikings.
Calhoun looks to return to prominence after finishing last season 13-2 and losing to Port Washington in the county final. The Colts previously won three straight county championships.
This year's team has no seniors, but is led by a strong junior class. Lauren Streznec is first singles after going 14-1 at third singles last year and will look to challenge Kallenberg for the county title. Rachel Ross will compete at second singles and Jen Chen will be at third singles, giving the Colts a strong singles lineup. Angela Lin and Katherine Kustas will be the team's top doubles pair.
Jericho will be rebuilding after losing its entire singles lineup to graduation. Junior Kaitlyn Shin will compete at first singles and seniors Stephanie Peng and Sonia Joshi will be competing at first doubles. After finishing second in the county doubles championship, sophomore Katie Chan and junior Annie Zhao will move up to compete in singles.
Seniors Claudia Lim and Rebecca Shum return to lead Great Neck South after going 14-4 and winning the county doubles championship.
After going undefeated in Conference II last year, Long Beach is making the jump to Conference I to compete against the county's top competition. Singles players Johanna Zavala, a senior, and Jessica Shreck, a junior, will lead the way and will be competing for the team's top spot. Juniors Ally Peysner and Madison Landau will be playing together for the first time at first doubles.
Half Hollow Hills has won three straight county championships and enters the season with a 45-game winning streak dating to 2009. But this will be a rebuilding year for the Thundercolts after losing nine to graduation.
Senior Gina Augusta and junior Carly Cordano return to defend their county doubles championship after going 18-1 at first doubles last season. Senior Christie LoMonaco will be competing as a singles player after playing at doubles last year. Senior singles player Susan Zhang adds experience to the team.
Whitman will look to get over the hump -- or the "hill" -- after finishing second in the county to Half Hollow Hills the past three years. Junior Carrie Simone has been on the team since the seventh grade and will be competing at first singles after going 10-4 last year. Senior Elizabeth Aiello went 11-3 at third singles and will move up to second singles. Seniors Lauren Kobel and Amelia Goodman will move up to first doubles in their third year competing together after going 10-4 at second doubles last year.
Lindenhurst senior Julie Catone went 14-3 last year and will look to defend her county singles championship. Senior Emily Clemens went 12-1 last year at second singles and adds experience to a young team.
Seniors Melanie Zeltman, Kaitlin Grisanti and Rebecca Sullivan lead a strong singles lineup for Smithtown East.
St. Anthony's won last year's CHSAA championship with a 12-0 record. Junior Caroline Kechejian returns after posting an 11-1 record and winning the CHSAA third singles championship.
Senior Gina Ciliberti returns to lead St. John the Baptist. The two-time defending league first singles champion, Ciliberti has not lost a match in two years.
Smithtown West went 14-1 last year and won its second consecutive county championship. Seniors Kevin Brant and Alex Bresalier return to compete at first doubles after finishing second in the county doubles championship last season.
Senior singles players Alfred Shim, James Kuo and Brenna Shoykhet lead an experienced Half Hollow Hills team that has 16 returners from last year's group that finished third. Juniors John Stannis and Jason Scheingold will be Hills' top doubles team.
Smithtown East is an experienced team with 11 seniors. Seniors Ken Barthman and Mike Talka will head the team's singles lineup while seniors Jack Dillman and James Ahern will compete at first doubles after placing third in the county last year.