In the last seven years, the Naperville North Badminton team has placed in the top three at state 5 times…. They have also won sectionals the last 9 years in a row. But even with those numbers, they don’t feel pressure walking in to 2019. Sophomore and runner up at state last year, Bhaavya Manikonda, says, “we know we are good but we don’t feel pressure, we keep focused.”
Staying focused doesn’t seem to be a problem when they have a coach like Heather Shilds. Bhavika Kagathi is a senior on the team and compares Shilds to a friends and coach, saying “It’s always easy to talk to her.”
Shilds comments on her relationship with the girls, “They are balancing stress and we just have to remember that they are kids along with students and athletes.”
The mentality is passed down from the coach before her, Bob Funston… who still comes around the team even though he passed on coaching responsibilities 5 years ago. Looking towards the season ahead of them, the girls aren’t thinking about any of the statistics Shilds says, “If we are always looking back, we won’t move forward.”
Getting back to state isn’t even one of the teams goals… they have some other ideas in mind Shilds says, “I told the girls to set goals that everyone can contribute to.”
Bhavika adds, “Our goal is to have good team spirit.”
“We want to grow as a team,” adds Bhaavya.
With goals like that, no matter where the team finishes in May, one can be sure that every member of the team will be successful.
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