New sport — girls badminton — coming this spring

Tia Petrzilka, Staff Writer

In the spring season of 2017, LHS will see its very first official all-girls badminton team, which will compete in a conference with Stevenson, Lake Forest, Zion-Benton, Waukegan and Warren.

According to LHS athletic director Mr. Briant Kelly, the decision to add badminton as a sport was in part due to last year’s conference realignment, which is now composed of eight schools as opposed to 14.  In terms of badminton, four out of the eight remaining conference schools already had badminton teams, and Warren and Libertyville recently added programs, making the total six.  

Apart from the realignment, there has also been a significant interest in badminton over the years at LHS.

A-F LST counselor and the coach for the team, Ms. Judi Neuberger, who has played the sport for around 30 years, explained badminton’s history at LHS.

“Every year [at LHS], I’ve run either open badminton or intramural badminton,” she shared.

These open nights were held for anyone interested and up to 20 people attended each time, including parents on occasion, Ms. Neuberger said.

In addition, Ms. Neuberger had the opportunity to individually coach 2016 graduate Katherine Liu, who made it to state for the sport in her sophomore, junior and senior years.

“Four years ago, we got a girl (Liu) who wanted to play competitively and asked the athletic department if she could do that [here],” Ms. Neuberger added.  [“The athletic department] asked me to coach [her].”

This spring, Ms. Neuberger ideally would like to see a team of around 30 students; however, if enough students try out, there may be both a varsity level and a junior-varsity level.  The girls badminton team will only be open to girls.  

“It’s hard to say what those numbers will be…we’ll probably know better in January,” stated Mr. Kelly.

Ms. Neuberger encouraged students of all experience levels to try out and emphasized that footwork and speed are important aspects of the game.  

“People who play tennis or people who play volleyball usually have a nice crossover because of the footwork and racket experience,” she explained.  “Footwork is so important [in badminton].  You have to move fast.”

Before tryouts, open gyms are likely to be one day a week and will start after winter break.

To sign up for email reminders and information about the upcoming season, including open gyms and tryouts, interested students should stop by Ms. Neuberger’s office, 152A inside the A-F LST.  The signup sheet is posted on her door.
“I just love the sport and I want to share that with other people.  I’ve been able to in a little way throughout the years, but this is my first opportunity to start a whole new team,” exclaimed Ms. Neuberger. “It’s been around a long time.  It’s time for Libertyville to have a team.”