First firsts for San Diego City singles, Skyline doubles at '19 state badminton finals

San Diego City's Sum Yin Ngai wins the 2019 CCCAA state women's badminton singles title, photo by Richard Quinton.
San Diego City's Sum Yin Ngai wins the 2019 CCCAA state women's badminton singles title, photo by Richard Quinton.

Singles Championship Bracket
Doubles Championship Bracket
Singles Consolation Bracket
Doubles Consolation Bracket 

Friday Photo Gallery

(PASADENA) -- An eye injury at age 14 all but ended the badminton career of Sum Yin Ngai. A native of Hong Kong, Ngai took 10 years off the sport and ended up moving to the United States a year ago. It was her American husband, a U.S. Navy man who encouraged her to return to the court this year and to rave results.

On Saturday, Ngai became San Diego City College's first-ever women's singles champion as she defeated Pasadena City College sophomore Xiaoming Yao, 21-11, 21-10, to cap the CCCAA 2019 Badminton Championships at PCC's Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium.

"We had an all freshmen team, but once I saw Sum Yin practice for the first time, I knew what type of player we had," said SD City head coach Darby Duprat. "She's the kind of player who just wants it, something that I appreciate as a coach. She practices hard and earned her title."

Ngai dominated not only Yao, but semifinals opponent Uyen Napier of Fresno City, 21-15, 21-6. Both of her matches took under 20 minutes as her skills, including an ability to use the over-head smash and using her quick feet to maneuver all over the court for winning shots toward the lines from both her backhand and forehand. 

"When I was a kid I really didn't like the sport," said Ngai, a 25-year-old majoring in criminal justice. "I think all the time away renewed my interest. I love badminton now."

The doubles championship also produced a first in the event for Skyline College as the duo of freshmen Katie Tan and Paola Candolada swept Irvine Valley's pair of Chien Tu and Lulu Yan, 21-12, 21-18. Skyline had reached the doubles finals in both 2004 and 2008, and finally made it to the winner's circle this season. Irvine Valley reached the doubles final for the first time since 2011. 

"Doubles has always been a strength of ours over the years," said Skyline head coach Jan Fosberg, who took over the program back in 2001. "Paola and Katie have played together for a long time. They complement each other well because Katie has a powerful shot and Paola is really fast, and it's always nice to have a lefty and righty. If they each played with another player, they might not be as good, but together they just work so well together. I'm very proud of them."

Katie, a lefty swinger, and Paola played together in prep tournaments and in high school at Westmoore High in Daly City. 

Tan-Candolada went the distance to win the semifinals contest over San Diego's Ngai and Anita Xayasomloth, 21-17, 10-21, 21-11. IVC's Tu-Yan powered past Pasadena's Yao and Jessica Lee, 21-15, 21-19 in their semis match. 

Yao won a tough semifinals match over Skyline's Paola Candolada, 21-15, 19-21, 21-11, to reach the all-SoCal singles final. 

Fresno's Soau Kong, last year's state singles finalist, won the consolation singles title while City College of San Francisco's Tinnie Situ and and Nicole Chiu were the consolation doubles champs. 

This year was only the second time in state tournament history that the two championship single finalists and two championship doubles finalists came from four different colleges (the other 2016). The PCAC has now produced three straight state singles champs. Pasadena has had a state singles finalist in four of the past five years.

Skyline's state doubles champions Katie Tan (left) and Paola Candolada (right). 

Release by Robert Lewis, CCCSIA