BADMINTON

Johnson star seeks redemption at state

Eyes tend to gravitate toward Olamide Fadahunsi the moment she steps on a badminton court.

The reasons are numerous, but the most obvious is this: Fadahunsi is perhaps the most dominant player ever to come out of the St. Paul City Conference, which has been Minnesota's top prep badminton league for more than a decade.

Athletic and nimble with impeccable timing and breathtaking hand-eye coordination, Fadahunsi -- who also is the setter for the Governors volleyball team -- won her third consecutive conference championship last week. She is 15-0 this season and yet to lose a set.

"She is a tremendous athlete," Johnson coach Don Bross said. "She has the ability to keep a birdie in the air. Her athleticism bails her out. But when an opponent makes a mistake, they don't get a second chance. She's the best player I've ever coached."

This is an important week for Fadahunsi, who earned the 2011 Athena Award for Johnson High School, a city-wide honor that is given to one girl at each metropolitan-area school who best represents a combination of athletic and academic excellence. The state badminton tournament takes place Tuesday through Thursday, with team competition concluding Wednesday at Burnsville High School and the individual state championships begin held Thursday at Eden Prairie.

Fadahunsi won the state singles title as a sophomore, losing only one match all season. She again lost only once last year, but that came in the state final.

With a three-year record of 65-3, Fadahunsi is determined not to repeat last year's mistakes.

"Last year was really hard to get over," she said. "I still can't believe I lost my focus. Last year, I was thinking about hitting it here and then hitting it there. This year, I'm just going to play. If I win, it will be because I'm playing my hardest and my best."

JIM PAULSEN

OTHER KEY EVENTS

Baseball

Monday: Eden Prairie at Minnetonka, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Delano at Mound-Westonka, 4 p.m.

Wednesday: Minneapolis South vs. Minneapolis Southwest, at Fort Snelling, 4 p.m.

Thursday: Hill-Murray at Richfield, 4:15 p.m.

Softball

Monday: Forest Lake at Park of Cottage Grove, 4:15 p.m.; Stillwater at Hastings, 4:15 p.m.

Tuesday: Shakopee at Chaska, 4:30 p.m.; Buffalo at Cambridge-Isanti, 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Burnsville at Stillwater, 4:30 p.m.

Boys' golf

Monday: Shakopee Invitational, 16 teams, at Stonebooke G.C., 1 p.m.

Track and field

True Team State Meet: The 25th edition of this event, which still is unique to Minnesota despite its long-term success, will be held Friday and Saturday at Stillwater High School. Class 3A will take place Friday at 4 p.m. Class 1A takes the track Saturday at 10 a.m., and Class 2A wraps up the meet at 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Lake Conference Meet, at Hopkins, 3 p.m.

Boys' lacrosse

Tuesday: Eden Prairie at Minnetonka, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Blaine at Maple Grove, 7 p.m.

Thursday: Mahtomedi at Mounds View, 6:30 p.m.; Eastview at Eden Prairie, 5:30 p.m.

Girls' lacrosse

Eden Prairie at Blake, 6 p.m. Thursday: This is the girls' lacrosse equivalent of the Yankees vs. Red Sox. These teams have taken turns winning the past four state championships: Eden Prairie in 2007 and 2009, Blake in 2008 and 2010.