Chusang Nhasang of Bloomington Kennedy capped a perfect senior season with a three-set victory over Khao Nou Lor of St. Paul Johnson on Thursday for the badminton singles state championship.
After dropping the first set 21-16, Nhasang bounced back to dominate the second and third sets 21-6 and 21-18 at Burnsville High School.
She never trailed in her victorious sets and was tied only at 1-1 in the middle set.
Nou Lor made a late push in the third set to cut an eight-point deficit to two before Nhasang got the clinching point.
"I was thinking to myself, 'What am I doing?' " she said of Nou Lor's late rally. "I was so close to [finishing] the game. I thought to myself, 'I'm giving away too many points.' So, just finish it."
Nhasang, who said she won every match this season and never lost a set until the semifinals, picked up badminton just three years ago, with very poor results. Her winless effort in a tournament pushed her to get better in a sport she fell in love with. Her enjoyment of the game reflected in how she played in the tournament.
"On the court, I don't like to be too serious," she said. "If the game is serious, I will be serious, but I don't want to have that angry look like I'm going to kill you. I want to be out there smiling and enjoying the game."
Nou Chee Yang and Bao Nhia Thao of Johnson won the doubles championship over Xiong Vang and Wamee Vang of St. Paul Central 21-10, 21-14.