Badminton: Panthers’ Galbraith, Rohrs ready to tackle NCS tourney


Santa Rosa's No. 1 ranked girls badminton player is one of 44 Empire players who will compete at the NCS tournament this Saturday. (John Burgess/ The Press Democrat)

Santa Rosa’s No. 1 ranked girls badminton player Claudia Rohrs is one of 44 Empire players who will compete at the NCS tournament this Saturday. (John Burgess/ The Press Democrat)

Headed by Santa Rosa High’s duo of Liam Galbraith and Claudia Rohrs, 44 Redwood Empire badminton players are set to compete in Saturday’s North Coast Section tournament.

For the second year in a row, NCS has divided the schools based on enrollment. Division 1 will be playing at Washington High in Fremont while the Division 2 competition will take place at Kennedy in Richmond.

Galbraith and Rohrs both went unbeaten during the North Bay League season and led the Panthers to the title.

Galbraith, who is a sophomore, was given a first-round bye Saturday while Rohrs, a senior, opens with Lucy Wang of Dougherty Valley.

Coach Brett Williams, who is in his sixth season, speaks in superlatives about the pair.

“Liam is the most driven athlete I’ve coached,” he said. “I’ve never been around anyone with a work ethic like he has.”

Galbraith has been playing badminton for a year.

“It’s amazing how good he’s gotten in such a short period of time,” Williams said. “He’s that rare combination of an athlete that’s smart and driven. He has a will to win and never lets up.”

Rohrs, a four-year varsity player, is the team leader.

“She’s an amazing teammate and leader,” Williams said. “She’s always boosting and encouraging. Her skill set and mental toughness set her apart from other girls in the NBL.”

Also representing the Panthers in NCS will be the doubles team of Anthony Uch and Deon Labrador and singles player Pasang Sherpa.

The NBL is sending four girls and boys singles players to go along with four boys and mixed doubles teams. The lone girls doubles competitors are Montgomery’s duo of Samantha Bickart and Josie Fish.

Windsor’s Sam Tran and Jason Nguyen are given the best chance among the locals in their doubles bracket, while Maria Carrillo’s Nick Kulawiak and Aimee Eagle head the mixed doubles contingent. Mission San Jose has built a badminton dynasty and will be after its 11th straight title.

A majority of Sonoma County players in Division 2 are from Analy and Piner. Both the Tigers and Prospectors will be represented by five players.

Analy’s Riley Hardin and Piner’s Steffanie Tran figure to do well in singles.

In doubles, the Tigers duo of Matt Marshall and Brennan O’Donnell and the Prospectors team of Megan Poulson and Pim Khummon could go far into the draw.

Last year, Pinole Valley took home the Division 2 trophy.


Division 1

Girls singles
Claudia Rohrs, Santa Rosa
Ruth McQuown, Windsor
Jennifer Higashi, Windsor
Aylin Erdin, Maria Carrillo

Boys singles
Liam Galbraith, Santa Rosa
Nick Ogden, Casa Grande
Pasang Sherpa, Santa Rosa
Tony Lin, Casa Grande

Girls doubles
Samantha Bickart, Josie Fish, Montgomery

Boys doubles
Sam Tran, Jason Nguyen, Windsor
Dylan Freitas, Jeffrey Manbayan, Montgomery
Xuxuam Qi, Antony Chui, Montgomery
Anthony Uch, Deon Labrador, Santa Rosa

Mixed doubles
Nick Kulawiak, Aimee Eagle, Maria Carrillo
Seth Helling, Audrey Kang, Maria Carrillo
Erik Fauss, Hael Rivera, Windsor
Tommy Wikle, Serena Uppal, Montgomery

Division 2

Girls singles
Steffanie Tran, Piner
Sonya Dexter, Analy
Vicky Nguyen, Piner

Boys singles
Omar Morales, Elsie Allen
Kieran Bates, Analy
Riley Hardin, Analy

Girls doubles
Megan Poulson, Pim Khummon, Piner
Ling Huynh, Long Huynh, Elsie Allen
Leilani Emery, Ratinant Khummon, Piner

Boys doubles
Gage Higgins, Erin DeLaCruz, Elsie Allen
Matt Marshall, Brennan O’Donnel, Analy
Tommy Nguyen, Sean Luong, Piner


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