Athlete of the Month: Samantha Li

One of the most impressive athletes at Diamond Bar High School, senior Samantha Li embodies everything it takes to be a Brahma athlete. Through hard work, determination, and sacrifice, she has become not only the top badminton player at DBHS, but one of the top players in the world all the while maintaining her school work and activities.

Li was encouraged to start playing badminton at the age of ten at the suggestion of her parents. Although she was only in middle school, she practiced several hours a day out of love for the sport. In addition to badminton, Li also joined the cross country team freshman year to increase her stamina and endurance but quit to focus on badminton.

With a course load including AP Biology, AP Economics, AP Statistics, and AP English Language, Li has very little free time, if any, to herself. Li holds a number of leadership positions in school clubs despite her time commitment to badminton. She is vice president of Red Cross, secretary of CSF, a board member of American Cancer Society, and a captain in Link Crew. “I balance by training and then doing my homework by not procrastinating. I take advantage of every chance I get to study,” Li commented.

On the badminton team, Li plays mixed, doubles, and even singles when called upon to do so. With senior co-captain and best friend Carissa Chung, the duo did not lose a single match on its way to an undefeated season. Li is considered the best player on a team consisting of many strong individual players including juniors Curtis Li and Adrian Sin.

DB’s badminton team has a long history of success, and Li was entrusted with carrying on the tradition. As a co-captain with Chung, Li is looked upon as a leader and role model by the underclassmen. She played a vital role in winning CIF last year and is expected to do so again this season. “For the first time at Diamond Bar, we won first place at CIF. I played the maximum number of events and I won my games,” Li added.

Li has been on the Junior National Team since she was 13 years old. In a national tryout consisting of hundreds of girls, Li was one of only four girls to be accepted. Her experience on the team was invaluable as she was playing with the cream of the crop in the entire world. “I improved really fast. I was there a year, and I caught up with all the players that were there for five years,” Li commented. Although it was a lot of hard work, she said that she would do it all over again if given the chance.

Despite her decision to hang up her racket professionally, Li says she will still play for fun. Her high school experience in the varsity badminton team is definitely one to remember because of her endless list of accomplishments and achievements. However, her experiences on the badminton team will definitely follow her for the rest of her life and attribute to her future success.