Kiyoko Hashimoto certainly had motivation to be the state badminton singles champ Saturday afternoon after finishing second last year. That drive had to affected somewhat in that her title match opponent was Mountain Pointe teammate Vaishnavi Koka.
Hashimoto was able to set that aside, however, and defeated her teammate, 11-3, 11-4 to earn the 2013 singles title at Glendale's Independence High School.
In a rare singles title match between fellow teammates, Hashimoto dominated from early in the first set (a 3-3 tie) to the 11-3 win. Hashimoto opened the second set racing to a 7-0 lead (meaning 15 straight points) and went on to relegate Kofa to runner-up.
“I just wish it had been like at Chaparral (Invitational) when it was a good game,” Koka, who improved her lot at state by one spot from last year, said.
Hashimoto realized she had the upper hand after taking the first set. She had the customary pep talk (as did Koka) from first-year head coach Larry Holmes between sets. It wasn't a strategy session for either of the seniors, teammates for four years and former doubles state champions in 2011.
“He asked me how I was doing,” Hashimoto said. “It was really tough having to play her.”
It was only the third time the two could remember facing one another this year, but with what was on the line this time made it excruciating.
Hashimoto faced a tough time earlier in the day, the lone time she was challenged in the tournament. In her semifinal match with Xavier junior Areta Buness, Hashimoto found herselft trailing 8-2 in the first set. She worked hard to overcome it and finally prevailed, 13-12. She won the next set easily to advance to the finals.
“I knew I had to settle and just stay focused,” Hashimoto said. “I knew If I did I could clinch it at the end.”
On the doubles side, Hamilton crowned its first-ever doubles champions — top-seeded Tiffany Pariva and Drishti Panse. That duo finished 13-1 on the season and moved well up the ladder from last year's finish as quarterfinalists. Like Hashimoto, Pariva-Panse had a take no prisoners mentality in a 15-5, 15-4 victory over Xavier's Kirielle Singarajah and Teal Weaver.
Pariva, a senior and Panse, a junior, did not lose a set, but were put to the test in the opening set of their quarterfinal match when they managed to edge Xavier's Baani Khurana and Mallory Belknap, 17-15. The second set finished quickly at 15-3.
“This is their second year as doubles teammates,” Hamilton coach Lucee Buchanan said. “They have a great work ethic, and they're near the top of their classes (academically). They play smart. You might get them for a set, but they will come back and make adjustments so it doesn't happen again. They were outstanding in the tournament.”
Taking third place in singles was Chandler senior Jenna Scheeland. Scheeland defeated Buness in three sets. Scheeland placed third in doubles competition in 2012. The third-place winner in doubles was unseeded Mountain Pointe's Lisa Chavez and Larae Keso. They defeated Mountain Ridge's Rachel Price and Valerie Rozon in two sets. Price and Rozon were quarterfinalists at state in doubles in 2012.