LANSING | Like most of her teammates, T.F. South senior Cassie Breshock gives the stock answer when asked if she ever thought she would be playing for a state badminton title.
"No," Breshock said after the Rebels won their own sectional and will defend their state title this weekend at Eastern Illinois. "I didn't know we had a badminton team."
She planned on playing volleyball and basketball. Her uncle Steve Breshock is T.F. South's girls basketball coach.
"I came to an open gym to hit and just liked it," Breshock said. "I worked at it, (Coach Bob Tengstrand) worked with me and I just got better."
She did give up the other two sports to concentrate on badminton. Success is not new to the senior. She has had successes in the classroom. She is ranked seventh in a class of about 500. She is also in National Honor Society.
"Grades, school are first," Breshock said. "You do find yourself studying on the bus, but I also pride myself on being in National Honor Society three years. I (also) take AP and honors courses.
"They are a challenge, but I am really into it."
Breshock has a 4.3 GPA on a 4.0 scale. She said she will attend Illinois-Chicago and study kinesiology. For now, she is concentrating on helping the Rebels become the first school program to win two state titles. South is trying to become the first team since Downers Grove North in 2003 and 2004 to win back-to-back titles. The Rebels were sixth in 2012 and second in 2011.
She plays doubles with Jenna Pasko. The duo is 31-0 this season.
"Jenna and I have played well together all year, and we are both excited," Breshock said. "We want to win doubles and (help) our team win state."
Tengstrand said it doesn't take much to motivate Breshock.
"While watching opponents warm up before a match, I would always say the other team looks good," Tengstrand said. "Cassie would respond, 'Let's see how good they are when we put pressure on them.' She has never been wrong."