One year ago, Nou Chee Yang won the state badminton title in doubles competition and was part of St. Paul Johnson’s eighth team state title.
Last month she completed the trifecta by winning the singles title in two sets over Jumy Miko of St. Paul Harding, as well as helping the Governors to another team title. No one had ever won a state title in all three state tournaments.
“I didn’t expect it,” said Yang, the Star Tribune’s Metro Badminton Player of the Year. “(Badminton) has been going on for a long time so I didn’t know I would be the first to win the doubles and singles titles. I was really proud of myself for that.”
The last time one player won titles in consecutive years was in 2010 and 2011. Yang was the first player in state history to move from winning the doubles championship to winning the singles title the next year. She wound up 37-1 this season.
Yang was hesitant at first to move from doubles to singles because she felt she needed a partner. However, she took the challenge and excelled.
“During the offseason, I had a lot of practice in singles,’’ she said. “I became more confident in myself. So I decided, ‘Let’s go for it.’ ”
Yang, who will attend Hamline University next year, learned how to play badminton by going to rec centers with her boyfriend. They often played against older and more experienced players.
“That really helped me with everything from my footwork to how I play,” Yang said.