Friday, May 16, 2008

Clank! Kollipara, Devils celebrate state titles

May 15, 2008 Illinois: The clanking noise that Hinsdale Central students might have heard briefly in the school hallways Monday was the sound of the Red Devils badminton team making history. That's what happened when senior Karishma Kollipara tried to wear her two latest state medals -- one that she earned as expected for her third state singles championship and the other for the Red Devils' unexpected first state team championship in the sport Saturday at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.

"We all wore our medals to school, but mine kept clanking so I had to take them off," Kollipara said. "All of (my state singles titles) have been great, but this one is the most exciting because it's the first time we won as a team. It was a huge achievement."

Kollipara earned half of Hinsdale Central's 14 points that surpassed runners-up Hinsdale South and Lincoln-Way Central (12 apiece) with Andrew (10.5) fourth and Fremd (10) fifth. Kollipara (47-0) beat Lincoln-Way Central's Kelly Byar 21-13, 21-10 in the championship match to finish 6-0 at state, allowing no more than 20 points in any other match.

Kollipara finished her career with a 146-1 record with the only loss coming to graduated Lindsey Gibbel of Prospect 11-6, 11-7 in last year's state final."I felt a lot more confident and a lot more relaxed because I knew what I did wrong last year," Kollipara said.

"I was just more ready mentally."Kollipara joined York's Linda French (1979, 1981-82) and Downers Grove South's Erin Hois (1998, 2000-01) as the only three-time singles champions in the 32-year history of the state tournament.

"She was focused," Niemann said of Kollipara. "She wanted that title back. She knew she worked hard. I could tell after the first couple points that there was no way she was going to lose
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