By Robert Lewis, CCCSIA
In some years, the top seeds have cruised to state titles, but at the 2016 CCCAA State Badminton Individual Championships, the tournament trip to the top trophies should create some highly competitive matches.
Tourney host Pasadena City College features the singles favorite in returning state runner-up Rebecca Tzou. Tzou is the top South seed coming into the individual tournament Friday-Saturday, May 13-14 at PCC's Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium.
Others looking to take down Tzou are Skyline's Fiona Lai and Irving Valley's top performers in Jurate Foes, the state runner-up in 2014, and Cora Tanuwidjaja. Tzou is a perfect 27-0 in dual singles this year, but she was tested in a 3-set win over East Los Angeles' Serena Lieu in the South Coast Conference finale, then had to go the distance to defeat both Foes (21-15, 12-21, 21-18) and Tanuwidjaja (21-18, 15-21, 21-12) in the May 4 Southern California Championship team final. Fresno City's Lucy Lor and PCC's Sandra Maw add to the strong singles bracket.
Doubles may even present more high intensity matchups. The defending state champions are back in Tzou and PCC teammate Sandra Maw. However, they have already been beaten four times. Irvine Valley's duo of Tanuwidjaja and Tracey Nie knocked them off at SoCals, 21-15, 21-10, and appear to be a favorite.
Another contender is the East Los Angeles pair of Jean Buenaflor and Lieu. The Huskies duo have three times edged out Tzou-Maw, the latest at the SCC Individual Tournament on May 6 in a thriller, 21-10, 19-21, 23-21. Tzou-Maw may use that match to light a fire in trying for a repeat of their title.
The North has three teams that could be in the medals mix in the Fresno City pair of Panhia Vang and Lor, Skyline's Lai and Vivi Tran, and De Anza's Megan Hsiao and Elita Murtanu. Hsiao was on last year's state runner-up doubles but that was also with state singles champion Alice Liu, who since graduated.