Pacific Coast Athletic Conference
May 16, 2018

Grossmont College badminton players Yukari Naono and Michiho Kobayashi swept through the CCCAA State Championship Individual state finals over the weekend and share the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference’s Women’s Athlete of the Week award.

Naono, a sophomore from Shikoku in Ehime Prefecture, Japan, became the third badminton player in California community college history to win the state singles and doubles championships in back-to-back seasons in the three-day CCCAA Individuals Tournament that concluded on Saturday at San Diego City College’s Harry West Gymnasium.

Naono repeated as state singles champion by defeating Jie Chen from Irvine Valley College 21-16, 21-18 in the finals, after taking only 12 minutes to dispose of Fresno City College’s Soue Kong 21-6, 21-4 in the semifinals.

She also teamed with Kobayshi, a freshman out of Kanda Institute of Foreign Languages in Tokyo, to win the state doubles title, joining Thuy Hoang from Irvine Valley (in the 2010 and 2011 seasons) and Pinky Li from De Anza College (during the 2013 and 2014 seasons) to win back-to-back state titles in both singles and doubles.

“I was nervous coming into (the singles finals), Naono said. “Chen surprised me with her smashes. It was the hardest match I’ve played in my two years at Grossmont. I’m more of a doubles player, so I was able to respond to her smashes with some of my own. My backhand shots worked well. I am very happy to win two straight titles.”

Honorable Mention

Lachelle Autry, Track & Field, Southwestern:  Autry, a freshman from Granite Hills High School in El Cajon, advanced to the upcoming weekend’s CCCAA State Championships at Bakersfield College Memorial Stadium by placing third in the long jump in the Southern California Community College finals that San Diego Mesa hosted on Saturday.

Autry got out 5.53 meters (18 feet, 1 inch) in the event, which was won by Paige Johnson from Moorpark College at 5.67 meters (18 feet, 7 inches).  

Hannah Lopez, Track & Field, Palomar: The freshman out of Frontier High School in Bakersfield will return to her hometown to run the 3,000-meter steeplechase in front of family and friends at Bakersfield College on Friday and Saturday after placing fourth in the event in the Southern California Community College finals hosted by San Diego Mesa College at Merrill Douglas Stadium this past Saturday.

Lopez was timed in 11:53.10 in the race, which was won by Antelope Valley’s Mariah Theologidy.