The San Diego Mesa College badminton squad got off to a flying start after a successful showing at the annual Grossmont Tournament held in El Cajon, CA.
The tandem of freshmen Mikayla Aguilar (Patrick Henry HS) and Jollifree Panal (Mira Mesa HS) finished in second place, falling to the #1 seed from San Diego City College 21-13, 21-11.
“Mikayla and Jollifree have been training hard in preparation for our season,” states head coach June Andrews. “Both of them are seasoned players with many years of experience.”
Mikayla was the 2018 CIF individual singles runner-up and mixed doubles champion for Patrick Henry High School. Jollifree graduated from Mira Mesa High School where she competed for two seasons
“It was an honor playing doubles with Mikayla,” explains Panal. “She has more experience than I do so learning from her is great. Playing together for the first time was a big adjustment for both of us, but we played well. This is a big achievement because we want to make our coaches proud and put our program on the map.”
The success of the dynamic duo was no surprise to the coaching staff. However, the fact that it happened this early into the season was. In doubles, spending as much time on the court with your partner is important. Knowing each other’s tendencies as well as learning how to communicate with one another is crucial and often determines a win or a loss.
“We are both thrilled with our performance this weekend,” states Aguilar. “It was our first time playing together so we had to learn how to communicate quickly. This win means a lot because it shows us just how successful we can be when we play to our potential.”
“They haven’t played much together in a competitive environment, the fact they were successful is a pleasant surprise,” adds Andrews. “As we progress through the season, they will become more familiar with each other's styles and be able to bring out the best in each other.
The team will be on the road to take on Irvine Valley College on Friday, March 1. Match is scheduled to start at 2:00 p.m.
“San Diego City College is the front runner in our conference,” states Andrews. “Grossmont and Irvine Valley College are always tough and have been historically great programs. We will be fielding a competitive team and we look forward to representing Mesa College with competitiveness, class, and sportsmanship."