All-Empire girls badminton: Claudia Rohrs always put her team first

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Santa Rosa's Claudia Rohrs (photo by Christopher Chung, The Press Democrat)

Santa Rosa’s Claudia Rohrs (photo by Christopher Chung, The Press Democrat)

In four years on the Santa Rosa badminton team, Claudia Rohrs won 112 North Bay League matches with 18 of those victories coming consecutively in the just concluded season.

For her outstanding record, the recent graduate has been selected All-Empire Player of the Year.

While Rohrs was happy about her award, it was her team’s accomplishment this season that brought her jubilation.

For the only time in her four years at Santa Rosa, the Panthers finished first in league.

“Winning league and beating Montgomery my senior year are the highlights for me,” the 18-year-old said.

Coach Brett Williams was not surprised Rohrs singled out team accomplishments over an individual award.

“What I’ll remember most about Claudia is her team leadership,” Williams said. “She was always there to lead and boost her teammates.

“In four years, she never missed a match.”

On the court, Rohrs led by example.

“She was so focused,” Williams said. “She had an unwillingness to lose and was a relentless competitor . She would do whatever it took to win.”

What her opponents will remember most about Rohrs’ game is her backhand.

“It’s rare for a high school girl to have such a strong backhand,” Williams said. “Through the years she got a lot of points off that shot.”

Rohrs said it took plenty of practice to develop a strong backhand.

“I knew I needed to have that shot to take my game to the next level,” she said. “I put in a lot of time practicing.”

Rohrs took up badminton at an early age.

“My parents (David and Nurbani) played a lot in the backyard while I was growing up,” she said. “I liked it from the start.”

Rohrs continues to play because she likes the competition and getting a good workout.

Next fall, she’ll enroll at UC-Santa Barbara where she’ll major in geophysics.

“I can only hope that another leader like Claudia will come my way,” Williams said.

“She’s as responsible as anyone for the growth of the badminton program at Santa Rosa High.”

ALL-EMPIRE TEAM

BOYS PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Liam Galbraith, Santa Rosa, sophomore

BOYS FIRST TEAM

Dylan Freitas, Montgomery, senior

Riley Hardin, Analy, senior

Nick Kulawink, Maria Carrillo, senior

Deon Labrador, Santa Rosa, senior

Tony Lin, Casa Grande, sophomore

Jason Nguyen, Windsor, senior

Nick Ogden, Casa Grande, senior

Oliver Stinson, Santa Rosa, sophomore

Sam Tran, Windsor, senior

GIRLS PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Claudia Rohrs, Santa Rosa, senior

GIRLS FIRST TEAM

Sonya Dexter, Analy, senior

Aylin Erden, Maria Carrillo, senior

Jennie Higashi, Windsor, senior

Emily Hulsman, Casa Grande, senior

Vicky Nguyen, Piner, senior

Theodora Po, Casa Grande, senior

Maddie Thomas, Petaluma, junior

Steffanie Tran, Piner, senior

Serena Uppal, Montgomery, senior

COACH OF THE YEAR

Brett Williams, Santa Rosa

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