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Half Hollow Hills' Jeremy Manchenko, Brian Wu claim Suffolk badminton doubles title

Jeremy Manchenko of Half Hollow Hills sets for

Jeremy Manchenko of Half Hollow Hills sets for the return as doubles partner Brian Wu watches during their victorious finals match at the Suffolk boys and girls badminton individual/doubles championships at Half Hollow Hills East High School in Dix Hills on Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

Jeremy Manchenko was all over the court. Brian Wu was wherever Manchenko wasn’t, making the duo a dynamic doubles team.

The juniors on the Half Hollow Hills badminton team showed their athleticism in Tuesday’s Suffolk boys and girls individual championships at Half Hollow Hills East, winning each game of the semifinals and finals en route to a county title.

They bested Smithtown East’s Joe Hergott and Alex Zampieron in the semifinal, 15-4, 15-7. But it was the semifinal match against Lindenhurst’s Thomas Renick and Dean Pereira — a 15-13, 15-7 win — that caused the most buzz.

Renick and Pereira got the best of Wu and Manchenko in last year’s team championship final. The Hills pair, which went 20-0 this season, wanted to play them again.

“We had a bad game last year. We didn’t really serve well, drop well,” said Manchenko, who attends Hills East. “But we worked on it all in practice and got better. This time we were ready.”

Wu, who goes to Hills West, agreed.

“Our movement wasn’t that great last year,” he said. “But this year it was just like redemption.”

Wu is the ideal complement to Manchenko. As a lefthander, Wu is able to cover the areas Manchenko can’t. And Manchenko was nearly everywhere.

Castellano wins girls singles

Lindenhurst’s Sophia Castellano originally just wanted to place in the county tournament. Once her season got off to a fast start, she changed her goals.

“I wanted to be in the top four; that was my original goal,” Castellano said. “Then as the season went on and I started to play better competition, I realized that I really wanted to be No. 1.”

She realized her new goal, defeating Smithtown East’s Jill Pesce, 11-3, 11-9, in the girls singles final.

“She’s probably the best I’ve ever played,” Castellano said. “She’s respectful and she knows where to put the bird. If I was to play anyone in the finals, I’m glad it was her.”

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