BADMINTON — The moment may not have seemed significant at the time.
But at the April 9 Prospect Invite, New Trier’s Mari Georgiadis held on for a 22-20 Game One win over a Downers Grove South opponent. The Trevians senior then went on to win the second game 21-3.
The first game turned out to be the closest contest of Georgiadis’ season.
On Saturday in Charleston, Georgiadis won the IHSA singles state title with a 21-15, 21-5 win over Thornton Fractional South’s Loran Pasko. With the victory, Georgiadis completed her senior season undefeated and without having lost a game.
New Trier head coach Deborah Ofcky said she was not aware of anyone who’d accomplished a similar feat.
Georgiadis’ performance helped the Trevians, without its top doubles player, earn third place in the state. The team finished third in 2009 before winning the state championship in 2010.
Georgiadis played doubles on the 2010 team and finished third in the state with partner Dora Saclarides.
Georgiadis said she entered this season just focused on trying to fill the void left by the graduated Allison Doren and Courtney Lai, who met for the 2010 singles state title. Only later would she start thinking about winning it all herself.
“I think I started the season transitioning into singles, and it was a big change from last year,” said Georgiadis, who will study economics at Harvard next year. “Being a returning state player, I knew it would mean a lot because I had the experience and knew what it was like to compete (at State). Winning State was never out of the question, and it became more of a reality as I consistently performed well. It became more of a goal.”
Midway through the season, the goal was altered to include winning a state championship, going undefeated and not losing a game.
“We agreed it could happen,” Ofcky said. “Not losing a game is darn difficult given the talent we play all through the season. But it didn’t surprise me because she trained so hard and was so determined. She has such a strong competitive personality.”
At State, the closest of Georgiadis’ six matches was her second-round encounter with Sandburg’s Kara Kentner, a 21-18, 21-16 victory. Georgiadis ended up earning seven of New Trier’s 11 points.
New Trier sophomore Audrey Mang went 2-2, earning a point, the doubles team of seniors Claire Hindsley and Vicki Ho went 2-2, earning two points and the doubles team of junior Nikki VanderPal and senior Christina Zibart went 1-3, earning a point.
Zibart filled in for the injured Saclarides, who had missed the last few weeks of the season with a shoulder problem. That meant Georgiadis was the only one of New Trier’s six competitors with prior state-tournament experience.
Georgiadis said the Trevians had plenty of reason to celebrate another trophy, though she said it was too bad the team hadn’t been able to call upon the talented Saclarides.
“It’s frustrating that Dora dislocated her shoulder again. She was my partner last year and a senior, and we are really good friends. I know she was sad that she was unable to play,” Georgiadis said. “But we accomplished a lot of great things, even with the injury. When she got hurt, teams counted us out of the mix, but we were still able to get on the podium. That’s a big accomplishment.”
Sandburg (14.5 points) captured the state title and Thornton Fractional South (11.5 points) was second.