Stephanie Lin with her 3 Illinois champion medals (photo courtesy of Stephanie Lin)

Badminton, Sports Illustrated & Cornell: Stephanie Lin, 3-Time Illinois H.S. Champ

“Mental endurance and a natural knack for consistency equals success in your life” — Stephanie Lin, 3-Time Illinois H.S. Champion

Stephanie Lin of Lyons Township High School became a Singles champion for the third consecutive year at the Illinois High School State Tournament last May. With her 158–34 high school record and her achievement, she was recognized in Sports Illustrated magazine’s “Faces in the Crowd” section in its June 10 issue. Let’s hear more about Stephanie, who is going to study at Cornell University this fall.

Stephanie Lin cries after winning her last match at the he Illinois High School State Championships (photo courtesy of Stephanie Lin).

How do you feel about being in such a mainstream sports magazines like “Sports Illustrated”?

It’s incredibly exciting to have a place in such a widely known magazine. Especially since badminton is probably a rare sight in Sports Illustrated, I’m extremely proud to be able to represent the sport!

Did you have a pressure to defend the title back to back for 3 years?

I definitely felt anxious, both physically and mentally. I felt like the title I’d won as the underdog my sophomore year was a delicate thing, something easily lost. Even after my second win, the pressure just kept building up. This last one was the most difficult and also the most nerve-wracking, but it finally feels like I have something I can hold onto forever.

Stephanie Lin serves at the Illinois High School State Championships (photo courtesy of Stephanie Lin).

What is your work ethic for training?

I started badminton because I was lacking in the athletics department. Just before my freshman year, I began to learn what it really meant to work hard in a sport. I think my work ethic consists of a trained mental endurance and a natural knack for consistency that I strive for in all aspects of my life.

You are going to Cornell– do you plan to keep playing while while studying?

Definitely! I’m going into engineering, so I expect my coursework to increase a great deal. However, I hope to continue playing badminton in my free time and participate in a few tournaments. I don’t have any huge goals anymore as a player, since I’d like to focus on academics, but I hope that badminton will be something I can enjoy for years to come.

What is fun about playing badminton and being a badminton player?

I think that what initially got me hooked on the sport was the precision and technique required. The best feeling is when the shot comes off just right, and you’ve perfected the slice or touch at the net. It’s a satisfying completeness that can only be produced from hours and hours of practice.

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