Patrick Henry High seniors Nikki Bishop and Kayla Hazel swept their girls ‘singles matches, then teamed up to sweep their girls’ doubles match, leading the Patriots to a second consecutive San Diego Section team badminton championship over the Mira Mesa Marauders, 9-5, at Kearny High on Saturday.
The team competition in the section is contested in a coed format, although Saturday’s three mixed-doubles matches scheduled for the conclusion of the championship were abandoned after the Patriots’ victory was determined following the doubles round.
“We are a big family here and that’s a big motivating factor for working hard in practice in order to win,” Bishop said. “We hold ourselves accountable for one another and because of that we’ve all become good friends.”
Patrick Henry, who finished 19-0, won seven of the eight singles matches to all but concludes it would win a third section title in the last four seasons (’18, ’21, ’22) under head coach Trustin Nguyen.
The championship was not held in 2020.
As a player, Nguyen was on a pair of section championship teams during Hoover’s decade-plus-long dominance that resulted in a section-best 10 championships. The Patriots are now second all-time with five SDS-CIF co-ed titles in team badminton. Serra is next with four.
In the boys’ doubles, the Patriot team of Hilton Nguyen and Joaquin Tapia rallied to win the decisive match after dropping the first game, 19-21, 21-17, 21-13.
Mira Mesa, under head coach Alvin Mendoza, finished 15-4, with three of the losses coming to the Patriots.
Patrick Henry’s CIF champion doubles team of Anthony Nguyen and Francis Hoang competed in singles in the team final and both swept their matches.
“My coaches (including assistant coach Thai Lay) were a great resource since my freshman year in helping me get better,” said Anthony Nguyen.
Anthony Nguyen was the team’s male MVP this season, while Hoang, who suffered a broken wrist in a practice during his freshman season, completed his career, as most of the seniors did, by winning three Western League titles, as well.
“After I broke my wrist, I came back and just trained really hard as much as I could and stuck with it,” Hoang said. “The team means everything to me right now. This means more to me (than the doubles title).
Another key win for Henry was senior Tin Tran’s three-game victory over Quang Nguyen, 21-12, 15-21, 21-18. Patriots Bau Le and Kathleen Dang also swept their singles matches.
“This is definitely a team game,” Tran said. “It takes a lot of hard work in practice. The bond we have together makes us a family. “
For Mira Mesa, senior Mylene Keophaseut, a CIF champion in singles and doubles held last week, swept to victory in her match over two-time Patriot female MVP Jennifer Diep, then teamed with Nguyen to sweep their doubles match over Diep and Dang.
That’s no slightest on Diep, who was proudly assigned to hold the championship trophy despite her losses to the section’s top female player.
“My team sees me as a role model and a leader,” Diep said. “I have amazing teammates who are always asking me for advice. They look up to me and see the kind of work it takes to get better. I am grateful for everyone who works just as hard as I did. ”
All three boys’ doubles matches needed three games, with Mira Mesa winning two of the clashes by the teams of Nathan Chan-Quang Nguyen, and Bogdan Shamrai-Kevin Doan.
Scott is a freelance writer.