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Suchir Misra, Nitish Rajagopal, Jericho win third straight Nassau badminton title

Suchr Misra and Nitish Rajagopal of Jericho wait

Suchr Misra and Nitish Rajagopal of Jericho wait for the birdie during the Nassau boys badminton team final on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019 in Plainview. Credit: Dawn McCormick

All they do is win.

The top-seeded Jericho boys badminton team captured its third straight Nassau championship Friday afternoon, defeating No. 2 Great Neck South, 5-2, at Mattlin Middle School. The Jayhawks have now won nine county titles in the 13 years since badminton was introduced as a varsity sport in Nassau, and wrapped up the season 13-0, their second consecutive undefeated record.

“These kids are fantastic,” coach Mark Burkowsky said. “They put in the hard work every day and I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to be on my team.”

Seniors Suchir Misra and Nitish Rajagopal captured the match-clinching victory at second doubles, defeating Stanley Wong and David Fong, 21-14, 19-21, 21-12. Despite the mid-match setback, Misra said both he and Rajagopal were confident they’d rally, getting back to fundamentals in the third set.

“In the first set we placed the birdie really well,” Misra said. “We went back to that in the third and that’s what got us the victory. We always have the belief that we can win any game.”

Dennis Chau and Anshul Vemuri, who won the county doubles title last week, defeated Alan Lin and Eric Wong, 21-8, 21-10, at first doubles. Mathew Liang and Joshua Dong also picked up a win at third doubles, and Fahad Karim notched a straight-set victory at second singles and Wesley Wang won in three sets at third singles.

Great Neck South captured points at fourth doubles and first singles, highlighted by Ryan Wu’s win over Gary Jiang, 21-11, 21-12. Wu also defeated Jiang to capture the county singles title.

Still, once again, it was Jericho’s day and the end to another dominant season.

“There is pressure with it, but I think that’s one of our main motivators, too,” Rajagopal said. “Other teams are getting a lot better and the games are getting tougher, so I think having that record and good competition is what drives us.”

The Jayhawks don’t see that drive changing. Jericho, which came into the championship buoyed by 7-0 playoff victories over Long Beach and Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK, has created a habit of winning and is already looking to build toward next year’s title.

“We need to continue building on our team chemistry,” Karim said. “We’re proud of each other’s accomplishments and we feed off of that.”

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