Grossmont delivers more firsts in state women's badminton

2017 State Women's Badminton singles champion Yukari Naono makes a backhand shot during her finals victory Saturday at Mission College.
2017 State Women's Badminton singles champion Yukari Naono makes a backhand shot during her finals victory Saturday at Mission College.

(SANTA CLARA, Calif.)--On Thursday, for the second straight year, a college that never won a state team title captured one with Pasadena City College crowned champ following Fresno City College's first taste of victory in 2016.  On Saturday, the firsts kept on happening as Grossmont College came away with its first state individual singles and individual doubles crowns at the CCCAA State Women's Badminton Championships at Mission College.

Yukari Naono, a freshman, became the Griffins' first state singles champion thanks to a straight sets win over Pasadena City's Sarah Thaw, 21-16, 21-8. Naono crushed Fresno City's Lucy Lor in the semifinals, 21-7, 21-6. Naono, from Japan, swept all of her matches this season. Thaw, who was sharp in helping PCC win the state team title, made it to the individual finals with a 21-11, 21-8 over Fresno's Panhia Vang. 

PCC head coach Jen Ho said about the final, "Naono is a consistent, smooth, fast and a great physically fit player. Against Sarah, she was better in all her shot selections and had more strategies. She is more experienced and proved to be the state's top player."

Grossmont, a college that never even appeared in a singles or doubles final in the previous 17 years of the sport's championship tournament, scored more hardware with the state doubles title won by Naono and teammate Rebekah Leslie. Naono-Leslie defeated the Griffins' pair of Tran Pham and Nicole Ortin, 21-14, 21-7, in an all Grossmont final. It was just the fourth time that one college had two doubles teams reach the championship final. The others were De Anza in 2013-14 and Irvine Valley in 2005.

Naono-Leslie defeated Fresno's Lor-Vang in the semifinals, 21-12, 21-15. Pham-Ortin were pressed by Pasadena's Natalie Ong and Amy Huang before winning their semi, 21-18, 21-17. 

De Anza's YuYu Liu needed three sets to beat PCC's Hong Yan Liu, 21-17, 11-21, 21-11, for the consolation singles title. Liu teamed with Dons' teammate Negar Hosseini for the consolation doubles crown as they went the distance to defeat Fresno's Linda Vue and Bao Vang, 21-19, 16-21, 21-14. 


For the first time, the Badminton Coaches Association has named the CCCBCA All-American Team. The team consists of the final four singles players and final four doubles teams at the CCCAA State Championships.

Yukari Naono, Grossmont
Sarah Thaw, Pasadena City
Lucy Lor, Fresno City
Panhia Vang, Fresno City
Yukari Naono-Rebekah Leslie, Grossmont
Tran Pham-Nicole Ortin, Grossmont
Lucy Lor-Panhia Vang, Fresno City
Natalie Ong-Amy Huang, Pasadena City

Release by Robert Lewis, CCCSIA