Everything clicked at the right time for St. Paul Johnson senior Xena Yang. She took home the singles badminton state title with a 21-15, 19-21, 21-12 win Thursday over Burnsville senior Ashley VanderWoude.
“I finally accomplished my goal for this year,” Yang said.
It’s Yang’s first individual state badminton title.
“She went from being a great badminton player to the best player in the state,” said Johnson coach Mark Fischbach. “It was perfect timing.”
The final was the fourth time this season that Yang and VanderWoude have faced each other, and VanderWoude had a 2-1 edge. Yang watched VanderWoude’s semifinal match Thursday and saw that she liked to keep players up front, so Yang adjusted and pushed her back.
Yang used a late run to take the first game. She nearly erased a seven-point deficit in the second, but fell short. She took advantage of VanderWoude’s slow start in the deciding set to win the title.
“She was playing really well,” VanderWoude said. “I don’t think there was anything else I could have done.”
St. Paul Como Park’s Sheng Vang and Kia Vang won the doubles title 10-21, 21-9, 21-17 over St. Paul Johnson’s Kar Bao Xiong and Julie Her.