Moua Yang was thrilled six years ago, when her family of eight moved from Thailand to Clovis, and she learned the popular sport of her homeland — badminton — was also played locally.
"I said, 'Oh, I'm so excited.' "
But the caveat for the Clovis East junior who stands 5 feet and weighs 94 pounds: American girls are tall.
"Oh my gosh," she says. "They're so big and I'm so little. I'm pretty scared of their size."
Not to fear.
Yang swung her racket with might, going 34-1, winning the Central Section individual title and The Bee's top award in the sport — Player of the Year.
Mentored for years in badminton by her older brother, Kao Yang — "He teaches me everything" — she lost only to Buchanan's Ashlyn Ryding in three sets during the regular season, but countered by sweeping the Bears senior in the section team finals.
"Moua's tiny, yes, but she'll go smash for smash with the big girls," Timberwolves coach Janine Sodersten says. "She's so quick and athletic; she could play volleyball, she could play tennis, she could probably play any sport. She's a very natural talent."
Yang also has a 3.8 grade-point average and imagination, which leads to her future.
"I want to be an architect," she says.
"I look at things and I want to create them. It sounds interesting."
Player of the Year
School: Clovis East
Her swing: A Bee honorable mention All-Star in 2012, she belied her 5-foot, 94-pound size and hammered her way to a 34-1 record and the Central Section individual tournament title. She also led the Timberwolves to a runners-up finish to Buchanan for the section team title after they won it the previous two years.
More inside: First-team and honorable mention selections; coaching kudos, Page B3
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