Program gains momentum as roster numbers swell

  • Written by Derek Johnson

When it comes to football, softball and gymnastics, this town has had its share of legends. Tuiasosopo, Schreyer and McManus are just some of the names synonymous with their respective sport. 

But badminton is just getting off the ground at Woodinville. Last year was its first in existence. The student body didn’t seem fully aware of it. 

DSC 2372Co-captain Sahithi Yakkali says the challenge system "Keeps everyone on their toes." (Photo by Derek Johnson) But word is spreading. Roster numbers have expanded from 47 to 67.  

“We’re only in our second year, unlike a lot of the other schools that have been playing for a long time,” Woodinville coach Darcy Vitulli said. “We’re excited that we’re seeing huge improvement [in skill level] and increase in numbers. I just think a lot of these girls wouldn’t come out for other sports but they come out for this. I think we learn so much of life skills from sports. So that’s the number one thing I want to focus on, is that team feeling. That’s important to me.”

The Falcons competed last Monday against Eastlake. One-by-one, the players finished their matches and reported their scores to Vitulli.
“Badminton is so much fun,” captain Sahithi Yakkali said. “It’s a bunch of girls. When girls get together and bond it’s an amazing effect.”
“I love meeting all the new girls,” captain Lucy Cherrier said. “Usually practice is super fun with all of them. It gets pretty loud. There’s a lot of girls who are strong from other sports. Like Amanda Jackson over there. She plays volleyball. That’s a cool thing to watch.”

(As if on cue, Jackson smashes the birdie over the net for an emphatic point).

Partners Katie Schuster and Anna Cao came over and sat down, fresh off their 20-22, 22-20, 21-7 victory.

“Last year I was doing track and I didn’t like it very much,” Schuster said. “My friend Lucy [Cherrier] told me how fun badminton was, so I decided to go for it. Me and Anna didn’t know each other. Our boyfriends know each other and told us we should be partners. And we’re even in playing skills so it worked out perfectly.”

“Our friendship was really quick, just like that!” Cao said. “We called each other best friend right from the beginning.”

DSC 2370Shreya Laksmi with a forehand shot. (Photo by Derek Johnson)Woodinville ended up losing to Eastlake to fall to 1-2 on the young season. But that didn’t impact one of Coach Vitulli’s goals for this spring. 

“We want to be Northshore District Champs,” she said. “We already beat North Creek, and we’ve still got Bothell and Inglemoor to play.”

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