Kingco Kat scores high


Hope Rasa

Junior captain of the girl’s badminton team Kat Zuo wins second place at the 2022 KingCo tournament.

Hope Rasa, Sports Editor

Junior badminton captain and DECA vice president of public relations Kat Zuo returned from DECA nationals in Atlanta, Georgia, only a few hours before placing second in the KingCo badminton tournament on April 27. KingCo was held at Sammamish High School, and Zuo said she specifically asked the DECA executive team to book plane tickets that would allow her to return from Georgia with enough time to travel to the tournament afterwards. 

Zuo said she brought her brother along for moral support, and he, along with her coach Amy Hayward, helped her to make it to finals.

My brother coached me and gave me great tips. Coach Hayward was also super supportive; she encouraged me and teased me to make it to finals,” Zuo said. “Everyone who came to support Inglemoor and cheer in the bleachers were also really sweet, and I’m thankful for them,” Zuo said. “Honestly, I was still sort of in denial that I had come back from Atlanta just a couple hours before. I’m pretty sure I was sending up prayers during my matches—like after every shot—at one point.”

KingCo is an elimination-style tournament, so players who lose a match do not advance to the next round. Zuo said it had been two years since she last competed in an elimination-style tournament, and she was nervous at first because she felt like her serves weren’t great. 

“I felt overwhelmed and almost as if I was in a dream. My shots weren’t going where I wanted them, and my feet felt floating,” said Zuo.

Once she warmed up and advanced through the first few matches, Zuo said the nervousness faded and she started to have some fun. 

“After my first match, I gained my momentum back a little. Eventually, my momentum maximized in the semis and finals,” Zuo said. “I was excited to play some solid matches and I’m thankful because I was able to do that. I’m also thankful for my brother, Coach Hayward, Coach Jack, God and everyone else who was there for me.”

Zuo advanced past the semi-finals and won one of her final matches against Sanskruti Kulkarni, a nationally-ranked athlete from Lake Washington High School, despite injuring her foot in one of her earlier rounds.  

After the last match, instead of the normal high five, I hugged my opponent, and that was a super sweet moment while everyone clapped for us in the stands,” Zuo said.