Jericho won its fourth straight Nassau County team boys badminton championship on Wednesday at Howard B. Mattlin Middle School.
The Jayhawks defeated Great Neck South, 5-2, after falling to them twice in the regular season to win their 10th team county championship.
"I knew these guys could pull it off," Jericho coach Mark Burkowsky said. "I look back to the matches we lost to Great Neck South this year and the games were so close. Yesterday at practice we went over how we could make the 18-21 games go in our favor and I am so proud."
The match came down to second singles and junior Anshul Vemuri stepped up to the plate to clinch the win for the Jayhawks. He won his match, 21-18, 21-19, over Great Neck South’s Justin Choi.
"I lost to him the first time I played him, but my team gave me extra motivation this time," Vemuri said. "I made sure to hit to the corners and move my opponent around more."
Howard Zheng gave the Jayhawks an early point in his third singles victory, 21-15, 21-15, over Great Neck South’s Haoran Xia.
"This is my first year on the team so it’s a great start to my high school badminton career," nine-grader Zheng said. "Everyone was way more confident, and we trained super hard after our last loss to them."
The gymnasium hosted four courts giving Zheng the opportunity to play in the first rotation of matches and Vemuri to follow.
"When you play first, even if you lose, your teammates will always have your back," Zheng said. "It’s much less pressure."
Vemuri attested to that.
"Playing as one of the last, I was nervous," Vemuri said. "I kept losing five straight points but luckily I was able to win that last point for the team."
Great Neck South’s Ryan Wu gave the Rebels a singles point in his victory over Jericho’s Wesley Wang at first singles 21-12, 21-12. Wu was crowned the individual county champion the last two seasons.
At third doubles, Jericho’s Stephen Liang and Rishab Bhatia defeated Great Neck South’s Edmund Lee and Christopher Gee 22-24, 21-15, 21-19.
"We have been rivals for years, it always goes back and forth," Burkowsky said. "These guys, they are amazing."