The Red Hawks badminton teams (junior and seniors) practice in preparation for the upcoming 2018 season on Monday March 26 at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School. The juniors are working towards competing in the pre-qualifying Kawartha tournament on Thursday April 5 at I.E. Weldon Secondary School while the seniors will get their first chance to qualify on Thursday April 14 at Lindsay Collegiate Vocational Institute./DARREN LUM Staff

Hawks host Kawartha COSSA championships

By Darren Lum

Published April 3 2018

If the Red Hawks badminton players needed more incentive to get motivated for this coming season they have it by hosting three tournaments including a Central Ontario Secondary Schools Association (COSSA) championship for juniors at home on Thursday April 26.

The team has been dutifully preparing for the last few weeks for this season.

There is a Kawartha pre-qualifier on Wednesday April 4 for seniors at Lindsay Collegiate Vocational Institute and the next day the juniors will be competing in their pre-qualifier at I.E. Weldon Secondary School. The qualifying tournament for Kawartha is on Tuesday April 10 at Adam Scott Collegiate

Vocational Institute for the seniors and then two days later Haliburton hosts the Kawartha qualifier for the juniors.

Haliburton will open its doors again on Tuesday April 17 for the senior Kawartha championship while the juniors who advance will travel to CDHS to compete in the Kawartha championship on Thursday April 19. The following week the advancing seniors will travel to the Bay of Quinte to compete on Tuesday April 24 at the COSSA tournament. This week the advancing juniors will stay at home for the COSSA championship on Thursday April 26.

Senior coach for the Red Hawks Bob Schmidt said it’s only been a few years since the school hosted a Kawartha championship but it’s been at least close to six years the last time Haliburton hosted a junior COSSA championship.

Having a COSSA championship at home enables family to come out and also gives the public a chance to see the skills of local players and possibly inspire Grade 9s who didn’t try out this year to join the team next year.

There are obvious benefits for all the current players he adds.

A tournament at home saves players from having to drive anywhere too far or be forced to wake up earlier than usual to make scheduled starts he said.

With the exception of being short one girl the seniors will be able to field a full team (singles mixed doubles and doubles). The juniors currently have the bare minimum of girls and may make cuts for the boys whose numbers were better.

Schmidt said he doesn’t have expectations for the senior team. However he is hopeful for his members to develop and play to their potential.

The juniors will be led by long-time coach Jason Morissette.

Haliburton is hosting COSSA because no other school applied Schmidt said.

The school’s athletic director Ron Yake asked Schmidt about hosting the junior Kawartha qualifier and the senior Kawartha championship and COSSA championships for the juniors.

Despite the less than perfect traction of the gym floor and the basketball nets hanging from the rafters Haliburton’s venue is arguably the best in the COSSA region because of its layout and its size Schmidt said.

“I think other schools like coming here. It’s a nice setup. No other school has this” he said gesturing to the gym. “The courts are all this way [lined up side-by-side]. There are some courts that are this way staggered and you have to walk through. Here you can just walk on and walk off. It’s nice” he said.