Lexi Verrato
ASU Student Journalist

Positive season for Centennial badminton

October 8, 2018 by Lexi Verrato, Arizona State University

Badminton may not be a sport that’s on everyone’s radar yet, but keep an eye out for Centennial’s aspiring program.

The young program is just in its seventh season,  and the second under coach Abbigail Gray.

“Last season I had nine seniors, most who had played since their freshman year,” Gray said. “As a team we ended up ranking fourth in our division and 13th overall.”

After not being able to advance in the state round, Gray is impressed with the new-found leadership and skills in her players this year.

“This season all my varsity girls are first-time varsity players and have been doing awesome,” Gray said. “I have three seniors who are great leaders and two have been playing since their freshman year. We do not have as many wins as last season but the girls are working hard and helping each other, which is more important than a win.”

The team currently stands with a 5-6 division record and is 4-1 in region play.

Gray came into the season with a few simple goals and expectations.

“My expectations for this season were to continue to build the program and create traditions that will stay with the team no matter who is coaching or playing,” Gray said. “My goals were for the team to improve their skills and have fun.”

Gray said the team exceeded expectations.

Senior leader Murphy Kaphing has stood out to her coach, both on the court and off.

“This was the first year she played varsity and she did such an amazing job competing with many opponents who were seasoned, varsity players,” Gray said. “In addition, she is an AP student who is attending Boston College next year to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor.”

Centennial competes in the Peoria District Badminton Tournament beginning on Friday at 8 a.m.

“I am going to approach the district tournament and state playoffs as I have approached the season,” Gray said. “We are there to get tournament experience, improve our skills by playing more skilled players and have a good time.”

The tournament will be held at Ironwood High School in Glendale.

Overall, Gray is thankful for the experience she’s had coaching and the relationships she’s made with her players.

“This has been my best coaching experience because of the girls and as I continue to learn and get better, they will too,” Gray said.