Seven students from Lloydminster Comprehensive High School (LCHS) and three from Holy Rosary have qualified for the Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association provincial badminton tournament this weekend.
The tournament, hosted by Holy Rosary, co-hosted with LCHS, with have both high school gymnasiums and the Servus Sports Centre packing with back and forth badminton action, as the 10 local student-athletes aim for medals in various divisions, which both coaches believe is a very realistic goal to obtain.
“Getting our three athletes into the playoffs is our first goal,” said Holy Rosary Raiders head coach Jason Almond. “Second goal from there, I am totally confident they can get a medal of some sorts. I think (Hayley Sunshine) has a chance and our mixed doubles have been consistently strong all year.”
Hayley Sunshine finished first in zones, which earned her a spot in the Category 1 senior girls singles competition, while Alyssa Banez and Brett Zweifel will play in the Category 2 intermediate mixed doubles competition.
From the Barons side, L.A. Aguilar will play in the intermediate boys singles competition and will be joined by Soleil Gow and Arash Saini who will play junior mixed doubles, Alyssa Wiebe and Clark Thomson who play senior mixed doubles, and Kobe Walker and Kaiden Zacharias who will compete in intermediate boys doubles.
Considering LCHS had 28 athletes come out for badminton this year, sending a quarter of them to provincials is a positive in the development of the badminton program.
“This is right around average or above average for provincials,” said Dwayne Marciniw, assistant coach of the Barons badminton team. “We start off with 28 athletes and through zones we weed down, but it is a good representation of our athletes.”
See “Badminton,” Page 27
With eight members of the Raiders going to zones, it has been an exceptional year for both badminton teams who have to fight the end of basketball season, as well as rugby and track and field for athletes. However, both schools have seen an increase in the amount of athletes coming out to play, sighting the increased winning percentage as a reason why students look at badminton.
Badminton is also a short season in high school athletics, with only a few tournaments before zones and provincials. But the two schools have found a healthy balance, even practicing with each other this past week in order to get ready for the provincial tournament they are hosting.
“It’s growing, our junior program has really grown over the past few years,” said Almond. “We are getting the word out in our school that we have got some winners in our tournaments, so kids are seeing this is a good thing to be a part of.”
Marciniw has been with the Barons badminton program for over a decade, and said it has never been an issue to get athletes out to play and compete. The team can carry up to 30 players and on any given year the Barons are pushing that limit.
“The benefit of that is you are not cutting athletes and you allow for some development to happen,” said Marciniw. “It’s a good culture, it’s a good transitional sport for those individuals who are involved in basketball and not involved in the contact sports like football and rugby. It maintains the cardio, it does allow some more fine motor skills. It allows them to feel good about the sport they are playing and allows they to play as part of something bigger, and that is a member of the Barons.”
The tournament kicks off on Friday, May 1 at all three locations and will conclude on Saturday, May 2.