June 27- July 02, 2019
Frisco, Texas was witness to the biggest tournament of the year. Over 500 athletes and enthusiast descended on Field House USA for the annual Yonex Junior National Championships. With the heaviest ranking points awarded, it is not a surprise that the turn out will be huge.
Northeast Region 1 players brought their game faces on and participated the week long grueling matches with it’s unique full feed-in format which made it a test not just of skill and endurance but also of mental strength.
Young players Akshaj Donthi (VA) and Evan Liu (MA) battled it out for BS U11 taking 3rd and 4th respectively. The pair also teamed up and took the silver home in BD U11
The girls will not let be left behind with Micah Cruz (NY) bringing home double crown in GS U11, XD U11 with partner Rylan Tan from SoCal and a silver with GD U11 partner Sydney Li (NJ)
Angie Liu from NJ claimed the bronze medal with a tough draw dominated by West Coast athletes.
Srijan Challapalli represented Virginia in the BD U13 4th place overall.
Massachusetts pride also shined in the XD U15 with Robert Shekhtman (MA) taking the GOLD with partner Joline Siu and BD U15 Bronze with another homegrown elite athlete Justin Huang.
Michael Xu from MYB club took home silver with partner Neil Ganguly in the BD U15 category battling it out in the final match against seeded #1 Ryan Ma/Daniel Zhou in a nail biting almost 1 hour match with final scores 7-21, 21-17, 20-22. While in the GD U15 Jennifer Cui (MA) put her mark with partner Angie Huang (Norcal) ending the season with 4th place overall
Presley Smith (MD) and partner Brandon Xu (norcal) had a tough quarterfinals match, winning against the pairs Kelvin Chong/Alohi Sheung , taking the 1st set and dropping the 2nd set 20-22 and finally winning the 3rd set 21-19. Presley Smith also took home a silver in the XD U17 category.
In their last Junior National Championship, Clayton Cayen (MA) and partner Ryan Zheng (MA) ended their junior partnership with an exclamation point. Fending off challengers Sri Kolla (VA) / Winston Tsai (Norcal) in 3 sets for the gold in the under 19 BD category.
Sri Kolla (VA) with partner Kristen Choi (NJ) placed 4th overall in the XD U19 and went on to represent the US in Russia World Junior Championships.
Lady shuttlers Evelyn Zeng (NJ)/ Emily Han (Norcal) came in 2nd place GD U17 unable to breakdown the defense of Kodi Lee and Stella Tran (3/4) seed in the draw. Dhriti Kommineni and Shobha Raguraman both from MA came in 4th overall in the same event. GD U19 pair from NJ Yuyang Xiao and Siqi Yang also put the Northeast region on the map finishing 4th place overall.
Seven days of competition and finally the junior athletes, parents and supporters headed home, bringing with them memories of spending the last few days with friends they had made and camaraderie they had shared off court. Some will head home victors, some with sorrow, but most will be inspired. It is said, “It takes a village to raise a child” but I believe, “It takes a village to raise a junior badminton athlete”. Train hard, train smart and most of all, don’t forget to have fun. Until the next Junior National Championships.