Badminton: Naperville North’s Ellen Lin, Tracy Kwan advance to quarterfinals
Updated: May 11, 2012 8:52PM
Everyone expected Naperville North senior Ellen Lin to advance to the quarterfinals of the state badminton tournament.
Few figured she’d be joined there by a teammate.
Lin, a 5-8 seed who finished sixth last year, breezed to three victories Friday at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston to improve to 38-1 on an upset-filled day that saw only three of the top eight singles seeds advance.
The biggest surprise was Naperville North’s Tracy Kwan. The unseeded senior stunned Fremd sophomore Angela Wu, a 3-4 seed, 21-15, 21-14 in the second round and upset Naperville Central’s Alisa Liu, a 13-16 seed, 21-19, 21-18 in the third round.
“Seriously, I am so proud of her,” Lin said of Kwan. “I know how well she can play and she’s been training so hard this season. A lot of people didn’t expect her to do that but I had faith in her. She had a great day today.”
Kwan (33-4) had never faced Wu (33-5) before but Lin beat the sophomore earlier this season.
“Before the tournament we looked at the draw and saw it was a possibility that [Kwan would play Wu],” Lin said. “I tried to remember what I could remember from when I played Angela earlier in the year and tried to give Tracy some tips.”
The strategy worked.
“I’ve never played these people before but I’ve seen them play at tournaments and I just tried to stay calm and have confidence in myself,” said Kwan, who went 0-2 at last year’s state meet. “I really tried to think about where to put the bird before I made the shot, and my serve made it hard for them. I didn’t expect [to be in the quarterfinals] at all.”
Kwan will face Andrew senior Renee Olson, a 5-8 seed, in Saturday morning’s quarterfinals, with the winner advancing to play either top-seeded Wan Wan Liu (37-2) of Stevenson or York senior Torrie Graham (30-2), a 9-12 seed who eliminated 5-8 seed Susan Oo of Bradley-Bourbannais 21-7, 18-21, 21-13.
The other half of the draw has Lin facing Fremd senior Annie Huang, a 13-16 seed who lost to Kwan during the regular season. Huang (42-3) upset No. 2 seed Andrea McNally of Hinsdale South 21-13, 21-19. York senior Georgia Schneider (36-4), a 9-12 seed, plays 13-16 seed Rachel Anderson (39-4) of Wheaton Warrenville South, a 21-15, 13-21, 21-14 upset winner over 3-4 seed Maggie Van Grondelle of Palatine.
Naperville North is in contention to win its first trophy. The Huskies have 9.5 points, a half-point behind Stevenson and Fremd.
“We have high expectations for tomorrow but we’ll just play the best as we can,” Lin said. “Tomorrow the competition is definitely going to be harder and so we’re just going to enjoy the experience of playing down here, which is awesome.”
In the doubles, seven of the top eight seeds advanced, including top-seeded Brittany DeClouette and Emma Adcock of Hinsdale South. But No. 2 seeds Kelly Owens and JiYoung Seo of Fremd were knocked off in the first round by Lincoln-Way West’s Kristyna Marks and Emily Bowsher 9-21, 21-13, 21-18. Marks and Bowsher were beaten 21-10, 19-21, 21-13 in the third round by 13-16 seed Marissa Mangala and Dena Zayed of Reavis.