The 2024 Newsday All-Long Island girls badminton team. Front row,...

The 2024 Newsday All-Long Island girls badminton team. Front row, from left: Zoe Xiao of Ward Melville, Eva Westbay of Great Neck South, Emma Ding of Great Neck South and Hannah Cheng of Great Neck South. Back row, from left: Dani Probst of Whitman, Kayla Wu of Great Neck South, Isabella Nieradko of St. John the Baptist, Sara Duffy of Whitman and Coach Jenna Cavuto of Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK. Credit: James Escher

Newsday Player of the Year: Kayla Wu, Great Neck South, Sr.

For Wu, badminton is a family thing.

Her father, Chibing Wu, was a former Chinese National Badminton team member and later founded the New York City Badminton Club. Her older brother, Ryan Wu, pulled off a three-peat in Nassau individual boys singles before graduating in 2022. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

At the Nassau individual championships, Kayla defeated teammate Hannah Cheng 21-9, 21-14, securing her third consecutive individual county title.

Kayla Wu of Great Neck South stretches for the return...

Kayla Wu of Great Neck South stretches for the return at the Long Island girls badminton team finals against Ward Melville on May 22. Credit: Dawn McCormick

“There was slightly more pressure with it being my last year,” Wu said. “ I’m certainly happy with my performance.”

She finished yet another season undefeated (12-0), defeating every opponent in straight sets. Wu hasn’t lost a game since 2022.

Coach Allison Romeo Gottfried has coached Wu for the last six years and says it has been an honor to watch her grow.

“I saw her grow up as a little girl,” Romeo Gottfried said. “I feel like I’ve become a second mom to her in a way. It was very hard watching her play her last set for us."

Hannah Cheng, Great Neck South, So.

She was the runner-up at the Nassau singles championships and finished the season 12-1.

Isabella Nieradko, St. John the Baptist, Jr.

At first singles, Nieradko finished with the best record in the CHSAA at 10-0.

Zoe Xiao, Ward Melville, Jr.

Xiao defeated teammate and defending champion Delaney Hart 21-17, 23-21 in the singles final at the Suffolk individual badminton championships.

Emma Ding, So. and Eva Westbay, Fr.  Great Neck South

The duo finished undefeated at first doubles (12-0) and won the Nassau  doubles title. Their win at the Long Island championships helped Great Neck South sweep Commack for it's third consecutive Long Island title.

Dani Probst, Sr and Sara Duffy, Jr, Whitman

Probst and Duffy took home the Suffolk doubles crown after defeating Commack’s Tiffany Gracia Suarez and Eunice Jeon 21-18, 21-16. They finished the season 16-2.

Coach of the Year: Jenna Cavuto, Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK

In her seventh year at the helm, Cavuto led her team to its third consecutive undefeated conference season.


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