Kayla Wu of Great Neck South keeps her eye on...

Kayla Wu of Great Neck South keeps her eye on the birdie during the Nassau high school girls badminton team final against Jericho on Wednesday, May 25, 2022 in Plainview. Credit: Dawn McCormick

The Great Neck South girls badminton team remained on top on Wednesday afternoon.

Sophomore Kayla Wu won at first singles and senior Grace Fong was victorious at second singles to lead the way as Great Neck South defeated Jericho in the Nassau county team championships at Howard B. Mattlin Middle School in Plainview, 5-2.

Finishing undefeated against Nassau competition at 13-0, the Rebels won their second consecutive county title.

“It feels really great to be part of this team,” Fong said. “I feel so honored. We have so many great players and so many people who are really supportive of each other, and a great coach who always makes sure we’re in the best mentality to play.”

Senior Larissa Zhu and junior Sarah Hao also earned a key victory for Great Neck South at fourth doubles.

Great Neck South coach Allison Romeo Gottfried said the culture the program has instilled in the last several years played a significant role in achieving back-to-back county championship seasons.

“This is a phenomenal group of young women and it is a privilege to coach them,” Gottfried said. “Over the many years I’ve been coaching, the program has been building up to what it is today, and I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

Great Neck South now advances to the Long Island championship on June 1. Nassau badminton coordinator Jenna Cavuto said the event will be the first of its kind for girls badminton since 1983.

“We worked hard and it’s paid off,” Wu said. “I’m a little nervous going into the Long Island championships, but I have faith in us and think we’ll do well.”

Gottfried is ecstatic that her team will have an opportunity to earn a Long Island crown.

“It’s very exciting that they’re bringing it back,” Gottfried said. “I have high hopes …I think we have a good shot.”

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