Intense Fun–That’s Badminton

Carrie Simone leads the Wildcats in Singles play.
Carrie Simone leads the Wildcats in Singles play.
Elizabeth Aiello went 11-3 last year and looks to have another good year.
Elizabeth Aiello went 11-3 last year and looks to have another good year.
Karla Thomas is being counted on for a strong season.
Karla Thomas is being counted on for a strong season.
left to right: Amelia Goodman and Lauren Kobel, Whitman's #1 doubles team.
left to right: Amelia Goodman and Lauren Kobel, Whitman's #1 doubles team.
left to right: Jackie Calamari and Alexandra O’Toole face off against their competition.
left to right: Jackie Calamari and Alexandra O’Toole face off against their competition.

Girl’s varsity badminton is off to a good start amid a field of tough competition. “From first to fifth, our singles are very strong,” said Head Coach Scott Wolff. “Until our doubles improve and play better as a team, our singles will need to carry us.” The strong Wildcat singles begins with Carrie Simone, who has been on the team since the seventh grade. Elizabeth Aiello went 11-3 at third singles last year and moves into the #2 spot, Karla Thomas is the #3 player, Eliza Wong is in the #4 spot, and MaryRose Stone plays at #5.

Whitman’s doubles teams comprise all senior players. “Both Amelia Goodman and Lauren Kobel, our #1 doubles team, are very good athletes, so they’re going to be good," said Coach Wolff. “Alexandra O’Toole and Jackie Calamari are our second doubles, with Brooke Bifulco and Nicole Katz rounding out the third doubles. All could have a great year as they gel as true doubles.” 

The best way to describe high school badminton is as intense fun. At a recent match, throughout Whitman’s North Gym, both the boys’ and girls’ teams were playing with enthusiasm mixed with laughter and smiles, no matter how intense the matches became. “It’s hard to describe until you watch a match,” said Coach Wolff. “They’re really into it. They’re very athletic, but it’s fun.” Confirming what the coach was explaining was a double match on a nearby court that had a tie score of 14-14, and yet all four girls were laughing. “With how many sports do you see something like that?” asked Coach Wolff.  “It’s a strange dynamic.” The girls are all working hard and improving with each match, and of course having fun. 

For the Whitman Wildcats, and for most other schools for that matter, the goal is to beat Half Hollow Hills, who have won 46 games in a row. “They are the only team we have lost to 2 years in a row,” said Coach Wolff. “We’ve been in the county finals 3 years in a row and have lost to Half Hollow Hills 3 years in a row.”  Clearly, with the Wildcats being a senior-heavy team, if they improve in the right spots, this could be a good year to take down their toughest competition.