FAIRFIELD — Birdies are flying at a furious pace around local high school gyms as the prep badminton season gets into full swing.
Local players are honing their games in league play, looking to make a run at postseason berths.
Here’s a look at this year’s city teams:
The Mustangs return 18 players to this season’s squad, solidifying their presence in the Monticello Empire League.
Coach Nrhiav Neo Thao has a junior- and senior-heavy team that should be in the thick of things when league play winds down.
Returning Rodriguez seniors include Sheriden Lucero, Kristine Galvante, Anisa Cervantes, Candace Fernandez, Emerald Ramos, Ashley Esteban, Jennica Garcia and Emerald Ramos.
Juniors that are back this season are Raiza Balancio, Bianca Cortez, Marika Ongpauco, Mikaela Ongpauco, Kristine Paeste, Monica Merluza, Shannen Garcia, Kimberly Gatchalian, Rebecca Farr and Becky Jiras.
Newcomers to Thao’s team include Geraldine Tiongson, Janelle Sandhu, Gabriella Braganza, Simran Kaur, Jada Lynn Sarmiento, Katrina Campamones, Leilani Cepada and Hyojin Lee.
“I’m excited for this year’s season as it’s our first year playing in the Monticello Empire League, and I can only expect my players to do their best in every game we play in this league,” the coach said.
The Indians are always perennial powers in the MEL and 2013 shouldn’t be much different.
The top-four singles returners for Coach Lawrence Trigg are Lourdes Calisa, Ariana Restua, Kathleen Boholst and Nazmeen Mohammed while the top-four doubles teams are Lourdes Calisa and Ariana Restua, Kathleen Boholst and Akena Reyes, Tiffany LeVan and Michelle Reyes and Nazmeen Mohammed and Aishwarya Thakur.
Newcomers to the singles ladder this year are Tiffany LeVan, Sarhea Reyes, Donna Tran and Diana Navarro. Tiffany Ha and Sarhea Reyes are new to this year’s doubles teams.
“We expect the league to be very competitive this year as most teams are bringing back ladder players from last season,” Trigg said. “Davis and former Solano County Athletic Conference powerhouse Rodriguez are very experienced teams that are potential road blocks to our team goal of winning the league title.
“We also hope to improve on our singles and doubles showing at the MEL league tourney this year. We have 21 brand-new players to the program along with 22 returners. We hope this mixture of players allows us to continue having the success we have achieved the past two seasons.”
The Falcons will be looking to establish themselves in league play, returning six seniors to this season’s lineup
The upperclassmen looking to propel Fairfield to league wins include Calee Clark, Brittani Fortune, Brittney Robinson, Kiersten Bakke, Nadia Hassan and Denzelle Duey.
Newcomers to this year’s team include Celaine Navarro, Melissa Rojas, Sabreena Kaur, Emma McCall, Lesli Jimenez, Jayalee Delacruz, Kayra Domingo, Atheena Dumlao, Francesca Frontera and Leanne Fronterra.
“We have a great group of girls this season who are committed to the team and to being competitive,” Falcons Coach Chris Wright said. “We are excited to play in the SCAC this year and anticipate a great season.”
Reach Brian Arnold at 427-6969 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/barnolddr.