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MYB once again plays host to Junior Open

Throughout the weekend of April 8-9, Marblehead Youth Badminton hosted its 19th New England Junior Open (NEJO) tournament. The event drew over 100 athletes from 13 clubs across seven states, including two from California.

A total of 18 players represented MYB, including Isabella Barbera, Charles Bushman, Hannah Casey, Clayton Cayen, Chris Colcord, Aiden Crowley, Cooper Dalton, Sophie Deutsch, Nicole Frevold, Adriana Jacob, Denis Kazakov, James Korzenik, Alessandro Prestero, Kevin Rishi, George Sabin, Brewster Smyers, Michael Xu and Thananant Yangyiem.

An exciting development for MYB is that the annual event has now achieved a regional classification, which means that each player's performance will be used to calculate the seedings for future tournaments. This is good news for MYB, as the home team had great success this year, with many players getting their names on the winner's board.

One of MYB's most competitive players is Michael Xu. Xu played up a level to tie for third in the U-15 boys singles division. Also, he and partner Jennifer Cui took first in the U-13 mixed doubles division. Xu is currently 13th in the USAB national rankings for U-13 boys singles players.

Clayton Cayen is currently ranked No. 1 in the country for U-19 boys singles players.

At NEJO, he came in second in both U-19 boys singles and U-19 mixed doubles with his MYB partner, Isabella Barbera.

Meanwhile, in U-19 girls singles, Barbera placed fourth, and Hannah Casey partnered with Marijke Heinisch to also finish fourth in U-19 girls doubles.

MYB players dominated the U-22 group, and some of them include seniors in high school, while others came home from college to compete with their friends.

In U-22 boys singles, "T" Yangyiem placed first, edging out teammates James Korzenik and George Sabin, who tied for third.

Chris Colcord and Yangyiem took the top award in U-22 boys doubles. Second place went to Denis Kazakov and Sabin, and third to Charles Bushman and Korzenik.

Colcord went on to win U-22 mixed doubles with Nicole Frevold. Yangyiem and Barbera came in second, followed by Bushman and partner Flavia Stiglich, who were third, and Kazakov and Casey, who ended up fourth.

At NEJO, athletes are encouraged not only to play their best, but also to be their best. The Jeff Bingenheimer Sportsmanship Award recognizes players that demonstrate spirit and passion for the game of badminton, as well as respect for other players and officials. This year, the award went to Hannah Casey and Luke Reitsma.

Marblehead Youth Badminton would again like to thank the volunteers that come together every year to make this tournament happen.

Running NEJO is in itself a team event that begins months before the competitors arrive, and draws on a small community to pull off a big tournament.

MYB is grateful to the people that help set up the venue the night before, and take it down the night after the tourney, and also all the folks that help make everything run smoothly throughout the weekend from registering players to officiating games.

If you would like to learn more about MYB and get involved in its thriving organization, visit its website at www.marbleheadyouthbadminton.org.

As printed in the April 27, 2017 edition of Marblehead Reporter