Clovis East High badminton co-coach Ian Hayashi talks about the extraordinary kindness of Rose Vang, but not entirely in the positive sense.
Not as an athlete, anyway.
“She’s one of the nicest girls I’ve ever coached, amazingly so,” he said.
She’s one of the nicest girls I’ve ever coached, amazingly so.
Clovis East badminton co-coach Ian Hayashi on Rose Vang
With an asterisk.
“She has a soft spot,” Hayashi said. “And when she plays girls inferior in talent and ability, she gives some points away on purpose just to make the score not look so bad. I actually had to tell her to respect the game, your opponent, give your best effort, and stop being so nice.”
Vang got ornery when it mattered, particularly in a thrilling season-ending, three-set victory against Buchanan’s Sravya Gudipudi for the Central Section individual championship.
That closed a 38-4 season now crowned as The Fresno Bee All-Star Player of the Year.
Vang, daughter of Laos immigrants, is the latest of many players of Southeast Asian descent who have impacted the powerful Clovis East program. Thailand-born Moua Yang, for example, was a two-time Bee POY in 2013-14 for the Timberwolves.
38 Vang’s wins in 42 matches
Vang, a senior, began playing badminton as a seventh grader at Clovis East-feeder Reyburn Intermediate. Her game morphed from passive to dominant.
“Rose was a very methodical player who was able to mix finesse and power and outsmart her opponents,” Hayashi said.
Hayashi said the key to this season could be found in the fall, when Vang started as a libero on the first Division I girls volleyball championship in school history.
“She started as a freshman on a very good (badminton) team. She was green, but you could see the talent. As the years went on, you could see improvement,” he said.
“But I think the biggest change this year from the previous was she started realizing how good she was, so the confidence came. And a big part of that came from playing on the volleyball team, which had a fantastic year. She learned a lot about herself with that experience, it carried over to badminton, and she had a phenomenal year.”
It ended in drama.
Vang and Gudipudi had split two matches in the section individual tournament at Clovis High, setting up the final. Vang won the first set in the final, Gudipudi the second, and Vang led 20-16 with but a point to win the decisive third when her Buchanan foe made a determined charge: 20-17, 20-18, 20-19.
She was catching up, and I was so scared, oh my goodness.
Vang, when final-set match for Central Section title almost got away against Buchanan’s Sravya Gudipudi
“She was catching up,” Vang said, “and I was so scared, oh my goodness.”
That was it, though, as Vang won 21-19 in her final competitive match, though she may return to the game after college as a coach – which Hayashi firmly endorses because of her personality.
Next up: Fresno State while pursuing a degree in psychology.
“What a great way to end my senior year with a Valley championship, actually two,” Vang said. “Wow, what a great way to end my high school career.”
The Bee’s Terrific 10
- Sravya Gudipudi, senior, Buchanan
- Rosemary Vu, junior, Clovis West
- Kendyl Ogas, senior, Clovis
- Souphany Siphanh, senior, Hoover
- Rose Xiong, senior/Faith Her, senior, Sunnyside
- Cassidy Crouch, senior/Hayden Mammen, senior, Clovis
- Kelly Crouch, sophomore/GiGi Dorsey, junior, Clovis