Mesquite badminton

Mesquite's badminton program picked up a sweep over Tempe High School for its fourth win of the season.

Mesquite High School badminton took down Tempe High School 9-0 on Wednesday afternoon.

In the singles matches sophomore Pravindi Gurusinghe defeated senior Jasmine Thompson in two games out of three. Gurusinghe lost the first game by a score of 16-21. However, after a difficult rally between the two in the second and third game, Gurusinghe came back and won the last two games 21-12 and 21-15, respectively.

“I think I did alright, I definitely could’ve improved a lot, some things I should’ve fixed definitely before coming into the match,” Gurusinghe said. “Overall, I’m pretty proud of how I did today.”

Junior Lillian McCullough was the second to secure the win for the Wildcats, defeating Tempe junior Linda Vazquez 21-10, 21-7 in two games. Sophomore Skyla Johnson took down junior Jimena Calderon Feliciano in two games by a score of 21-13, 21-14.

Sophomores Isabella Best, Danielle Malan and freshman Leah Vidales rounded out the singles sweep for Mesquite, defeating junior Jennifer Villanueva, senior Emma Benally and junior Grissel Lopez Bahena.

“I feel proud of what I did, but I could’ve done a few better things,” Vidales said.

In the doubles matches, Gurusinghe and McCullough defeated the pairing of Linda Vazquez and Jasmine Thompson, 21-11, 21-18 in varsity match no. 1. In varsity match no. 2, Johnson and Best took down Villanueva and Lopez Bahena, 21-13, 21-11.

To close out the sweep for the Wildcats, Vidales and Malan defeated Feliciano and Benally in three games. Taking game one, 21-10, losing game two 13-21 and winning game three, 21-16.

Coming into the 2021 season, Mesquite had high hopes for its young talent, winning the 2019 Division II State Championship under head coach at the time Mark Hanna. However, this season is a little different for the Wildcats as there’s not only a new head coach, but a young team. The team currently features one senior, two juniors, five sophomores and two freshmen.

Looking forward to the rest of the season, Mesquite will look to emulate the performances of the 2019, 17-0 team as well as carry on the performances of former Mesquite badminton doubles champions, Alyssa Dong and Sabrina Farias. Farias, who won the badminton singles championship in 2020 is being followed by a young roster.

“We had won the state championships two years ago and this season is a little different,” head coach Joshua Anson said. “We are a much younger team now but working through it.”

Mesquite will compete next at the Chaparral Firebird Invitational on Sept. 25, hosted by Chaparral High School. The Wildcats will take on Highland High School, Chaparral High School and Ironwood High School at the tournament.

“I’m pretty nervous, but I have a good partner, so I think we’ll do pretty well,” Gurusinghe said of the tournament.

Vidales echoed a similar sentiment to her teammate.

“I’m nervous too, there’s a lot of good schools out there besides us,” she said.

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