While both boys and girls varsity badminton teams struggled in the upper division last year, the teams have maintained almost flawless records this season as they look to close their regular season out strong and advance to the postseason.
The team’s success this year has been largely impacted by the addition of the two freshmen boys, Albert Li and Louis Hinnant (right), ranked fourth and seventh respectively in the nation. They took first and second place respectively at the Newark Memorial Varsity Tournament that was held in Fremont at the beginning of spring break.
“We can use these guys to ensure that we [score] high points,” varsity coach Stefaan Lodge said.
Louis is proud to support his team’s success.
“At Newark, we got third in doubles and I got second in singles,” Louis said. “It felt good to get the huge trophy…I hope that I can move up in varsity so I have the opportunity to play other schools’ best players.”
The entire team shares enthusiasm for the remainder of the season.
“We’ve beaten almost all of the schools,” junior Bonnie Chan said.
In addition to the new talented freshmen, the team still has many skilled veterans. On the girls side, seniors make up all of the leading spots.
Last year, both teams played in the upper division of the league, but following a winless season they moved back down to the middle division.
“We had a very difficult time, especially when it came to the [boys] number two and three spots competing,” Lodge said. “This year, we do have a lot of younger kids [so] I think next year we can definitely move up.”
One thing that prevents the team from sporting a spotless record is the inconsistency in player availability for practices. Lodge is frequently made aware that his players have very busy schedules. Often, these preoccupations cause junior varsity players to step up and take the spots of varsity athletes.
After beating Palo Alto in a resounding victory on April 25, the team is in excellent position to take the league championship.