Johnson Senior High School Captures Third Consecutive Badminton State Championship
Posted by Saint Paul Public Schools on May 17, 2017
Saint Paul is a dominant force in girls badminton.
Johnson Senior High School captured its third consecutive state title in the sport -- and its seventh in the past eight seasons -- this week, defeating Harding 7-0 in the finals.
While Johnson’s stronghold on badminton is remarkable, it is worth noting that Harding, Washington Technology Magnet School and Como Park Senior High School rounded out the final four in the Minnesota State High School League’s Badminton Tournament.
Six SPPS high schools -- Johnson, Harding, Washington Tech, Como Park, Central and Humboldt -- were represented in the final eight teams standing in a state tournament field of 23 teams.
Since the 2000 state tournament, a Saint Paul City Conference school has won the state championship every year with the exception of 2001, when Eden Prairie captured the crown.
Pa Nhia Her, a senior at Johnson, told a reporter with the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) that she is often asked why the Governors badminton team has been so successful over the years.
“It’s really quite simple,” she said. “We are dedicated to the sport and committed to our teammates. We don’t want to let one another down.”
Johnson is now tied with Harding for the most team state badminton championships in league history, with eight titles each.
In addition to winning their eighth state championship, the Governors also set a record for point differential during the season by outscoring their opponents 170-5, Johnson coach Mark Fischbach said.
“It was an incredible season,” he said. “The girls went undefeated with a record of 21-0 and also were the first team ever to win first place in every category at the Edina tournament earlier this year.”
The girls were Saint Paul City Conference team champions, Twin Cities champions, individual conference singles champions and individual conference doubles champions.
Johnson, the top seed in the team tournament, earned a berth in the championship match with a 5-2 victory over Como Park in the semifinals. Harding, the No. 3 seed, beat the No. 2 Washington Tech in a 4-3 victory in the other semifinal.
“This is a really dedicated group,” Fischbach told the MSHSL. “We practice 2 ½ hours a day, we have team meals and do other activities together. This is a legit sports activity and we treat it that way with the way we practice and prepare.”
In an interesting twist to the east side rivalry, Johnson and Harding continue their annual tradition of sharing a bus to and from the badminton state tournament.
"There is a lot of respect between these two teams," Fischbach told the MSHSL. “It’s been a really fun ride, that’s for sure.”
Badminton State Champions
1996 --- Burnsville
1997 --- Burnsville
1998 --- Burnsville
1999 --- Burnsville
2000 --- Harding High School
2001 --- Eden Prairie
2002 --- Harding High School
2003 --- Harding High School
2004 --- Harding High School
2005 --- Johnson Senior High School
2006 --- Harding High School
2007 --- Harding High School
2008 --- Harding High School
2009 --- Harding High School
2010 --- Johnson Senior High School
2011 --- Johnson Senior High School
2012 --- Johnson Senior High School
2013 --- Johnson Senior High School
2014 --- Central High School
2015 --- Johnson Senior High School
2016 --- Johnson Senior High School
2017 --- Johnson Senior High School
The girls compete in the individual state tournament May 17-18 at Burnsville High School.
Here are the top individual seeds for the individual badminton state tournament happening this week at Burnsville:
No. 1 --- Khao Nou Lor, Johnson Senior High School
No. 2 --- Chusang Nhasang, Bloomington Kennedy
No. 3 --- May Garvey, Central High School
No. 4 --- Ashley Nelson, Eden Prairie
No. 5 --- Kasumi Vang, Johnson Senior High School
No. 6 --- Tu Lor Paw, Como Park Senior High School
No. 7 --- Avery Schu, Eden Prairie
No. 8 --- Mia Coma, Edina
No. 1 --- Nou Chee Yang-Bao Nhia Thao, Johnson Senior High School
No. 2 --- Wamee Vang-Xiong Vang, Central High School
No. 3 --- Thanh Nguyen-Elena Luu, Burnsville
No. 4 --- Chunjai Xiong-Kushel Paw, Harding Senior High School
No. 5 --- Josepheena Thao-Nou Gee Xiong, Johnson Senior High School
No. 6 --- Dalee Chang-Esther Vang, Community of Peace
No. 7 --- Enna Say-Wah Lah Paw, Washington Technology Magnet School
No. 8 --- Sarah Leahy-Greta Donnelly, Burnsville