They played cards, listened to music, gossiped, ate, slept, watched their teammates, watched their opponents--anything to pass the time.
Waiting, and how to do it effectively, was the primary skill on display Friday at the IHSA state badminton tournament at New Trier.
Downers Grove South's Erin Hois, the top-seeded singles player, had no trouble during her matches. It was the wait between them.
"It drives me nuts," she said.
"I get anxious, and the more anxious I get the more nervous I get," added second seed Yvonne Cheng of Naperville North.
There were 104 singles matches played Friday and another 104 doubles matches, which means a lot of down time while waiting for the next match to be called.
"I don't get too worked up about the [next] match," said Hois, who spent roughly five hours at the site Friday, all but about 30 minutes just sitting around waiting to play.
Hois lost just one point in her three matches and didn't spend more than 30 minutes in actual competition. The senior, who is looking for her third state title, spent more time chatting with her second-round opponent, Willowbrook's Veronica Miller, than she did playing her in an 11-0, 11-0 victory.
Hois lost a point in the first game of her first match, then reeled off five straight shutouts. Her third-round match took nine minutes to complete.
"I like them fast," she said.
All but two of the top eight singles seeds advanced to Saturday's quarterfinals. Hois will face East Aurora's Shanika Young. Young upset Shepard's Bridget Dulinskas 13-11, 11-3 in a third-round match that lasted nearly as long as Hois' three matches combined.
"I set my goal to play on Saturday," said Young, a junior and one of three underclassmen in the final eight. Barrington's Christi Jacobs is also a junior and Hinsdale South's Carissa Nieman is a sophomore. "I know I'm better now than I was at the beginning of the year."
Young also plays basketball and doesn't start playing badminton until just before the season starts. Her coach, Wendell Jeffries, thought Young's 33-9 record should have been good enough for a seed. Young knows the task that awaits her Saturday morning in Hois.
"It's going to be a great experience," she said.
The anticipated championship match between Hois and Cheng stayed on course. Compared to Hois' day, Cheng struggled. After ripping through her first match at 11-0, 11-1, Cheng labored a little over 10 minutes in an 11-4, 11-3 second-round victory before a coolly efficient 11-1, 11-1 match to close out the day.
"I'm pretty pleased," Cheng said. "For the first day it's good to just get in a good mind-set and get used to everything."
Defending champion Andrew led going into the final day of team competition with Downers North and New Trier right on its heels.
HIGH SCHOOL BADMINTON
The hardest part is waiting
Hois, Cheng on collision course
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