Merilyn Li of Corona del Sol High brought home the trophy for second place in singles and the Aztecs, seeded seventh, advanced to the Division I state badminton tournament and showed a huge improvement over the previous season.
In the singles, second seed Li easily worked his way through the bracket.
“Merilyn is such a great addition to the Corona badminton program,” said Trainer Katie Pick called. “She works so hard both on and off the pitch and is passionate about the game. Not only does her education end in school, but she plays out in the community.”
Li faced No. 3 Samiya Bodhankar from Hamilton in the final.
“Merilyn has been No. 1 for Corona for the past two years and I see that continuing next season,” Pick said. “She lost a game in the regular season to Hamilton’s number 1, who she faced again in the final.”
Li won the first set 19-21 before Bodhankar came back to win the next two sets, 21-13 and 21-8, and the state championship.
However, according to Pick, Li gained national recognition as a junior.
“Merilyn has been recognized by coaches and others when she was named to the Flying Feathers Tournament All-Tournament Team, when she was voted Corona del Sol Athlete of the Week, when she was voted Group Player of the Year and when she was named our team’s most valuable player,” Pick said.
Corona’s doubles, seniors Megan Kirchhardt and Kaya McDonaldreached the second round before losing to Chaparral.
“Megan and Kayla, the team captains, were always players I could count on and who were looked to as role models by the other girls on the team,” Pick said. “They both played badminton and basketball at Corona for the last three years, so they had developed a good relationship and worked well together.
“They were both forces to be reckoned with, both enthusiastic and aggressive. They really found their groove late in the season hoping to carry that momentum into the state playoffs. We will really miss her leadership, competitiveness and positivity next year.”
In the quarterfinals, Corona fell to 1st seeded Perry.
“I was okay with being No. 7 because it just shows the growth we’ve made over the past year after finishing at No. 16.”
Pick is proud of her team’s achievements this year.
“I can’t say enough about the players who represented the Corona badminton team this year. They’ve been diligent, both on the court and in the classroom, with many of them taking honors and AP courses,” Pick said. “They built a camaraderie between themselves that was evident on the pitch in training and in competition.”
Corona boys cross country
Corona’s boys’ team finished 10thth 19 teams meet in the country.
Junior Tyler Tisinger was Corona’s leading cross-country runner all season, starting when he was 16th Place in 17 minutes in the junior 5000m race at the Chandler Invitational on September 4th. In his final race, the AIA Division I Cross Country Championships on November 13 at Cave Creek Golf Course, he placed 16th in 16:48.8.
Tisinger’s personal best was 15:57.6 on September 24 at the Desert Twilight XC Festival, good for fourth place.
Tisinger finished fourth at the Division I Southeast AIA Sectional on November 3, helping Corona rank fifth out of 14 schools.
Senior Callum Rohrer also improved during the season, finishing the Chandler Invitational in 54th place in 18:49.31. He improved to a personal best of 17:11.1 in the Casteel Invitational.
Other runners who helped the Aztecs finish in the top five in several major competitions were seniors Diego Diaz and Gian Martinez Richards and juniors Gabriel Gonzales and Diego Frausto.
In the AIA Division I Cross Country Championship, Diaz was the second Corona runner to finish, 51st in 17:56.0. His personal best of the season was 17:19.2 at Desert Twilight.
Gonzales was the third Aztec runner in 18:20.3 for 68th place. His personal best was 17:45.7 at the Casteel Invitational.
Martinez-Richards was Corona’s fifth runner at the state championships in 18:43.6. His personal best of the season was 17:57.9 at Desert Twilight.
Several Corona runners competed in the NXR Southwest Regional Championships at Shalimar Country Club in Tempe on November 20th.
In the men’s 5,000m – Big School, Rohrer was Corona’s top runner, finishing 66th. The next Corona runner was Diaz in 78th place, followed by Davies-Boerner in 104th place, newcomer Henry Yazzie in the 122nd, in the second year sea water in the 130th, in the second year Stephen Brown in the 143rd, in the second year Zachary Wiesner in the 148th, junior Logan Sywak in the 159th, freshman Aidan Stark in 164th and sophomore year Valine Verma in 166th place.
Corona girls across country
Corona placed 10th out of 17 teams in the state with a group of young female runners on the girls’ team. Three of the first six were sophomores and one was a freshman.
second grader Paige Davies-Boerner was Corona’s top runner in the state, finishing 21stSt in 20 minutes, 36.4 seconds. Her personal best was 19:38.9 at the Desert Twilight XC Festival on September 24. In her final race of the season, the NXR Southwest Regional Championships, she placed 28thth on Nov 20
Junior Kimberly Musgrave was the second Corona runner at the state meeting and crossed the finish line as 40th in 21:14.5. Her personal best was 21:14.5 at the Casteel Invitational on October 15.
second grader Mia Brannon was the third Corona runner and finished 69th in 22:29.5. Her personal best was 21:25.8 at the Casteel Invitational.
Corona’s fourth runner, freshman sloan guess, was 70th in 22:33.1. Her personal best was 20:14.6 at Desert Twilight.
Senior Ashlin Aguayo was Corona’s No. 5 runner and a sophomore Mary Gonzales was Corona’s No. 6 at the state championships.
Marcos de Nice cross-country skiing
Junior Luke Sieveking placed 47th in 18:05.5 at the AIA Division III Cross Country Championship on November 13 at Cave Creek Golf Course.
He ran his best time of the season, 17:32.44 at Desert Twilight on September 24. On October 16, he won the 3rd Annual Cesar Chavez Classic Men’s 5,000 Meter College Race.