By Darren Lum
Published March 28 2017
As the snow melts outside under the spring sun the Red Hawks senior badminton players are busy preparing for the season in the gym of the Haliburton Highlands Secondary School.
This year’s senior squad boasts a complete team of 16 players eight girls and eight boys.
Some players are working towards returning to the OFSAA (Ontario Federation School Athletic Association) championships while others are interested in playing their best.
Coach Bob Schmidt loves how everybody on the team has experience as some have at least two years’ experience and a few with four years.
Very few of the players have been set to a particular pairing or committed to singles at this time.
However Schmidt did say his son and Grade 11 student Ben Schmidt who was an OFSAA finalist last year with boys doubles partner Jaydon Wood has potential for succes in competing in singles.
Another OFSAA potential he said is the mixed doubles team of fourth year duo of Dylan Smith and Hannah Klose.
The girls doubles team of Jamie Little and Kenndal Marsden will be looking to return to OSFAA (as they did two years ago) after missing out last year with a COSSA fifth. Factoring heavily in the results was an ankle injury. The pair was hampered at COSSA when Little rolled her ankle in the second match of the tournament. Despite the injury the pair soldiered on and their result helped to secure the COSSA team title. Schmidt said the girls doubles team is likely to make it to COSSA and has potential to return to OFSAA.
“We’ll see how they do” he said. “It’s fine tuning shots [right now]. That’s the big thing.”
The team has a chance to win a third consecutive COSSA team title this season.
Schmidt isn’t focused on that as much as he is on just preparing his players to be ready to go as far as they can which for some will be the all-provincials.
My focus is “to help them to get there. Some are long shots. Some are maybes. I work with their potential” he said. “Team titles are nice but I don’t focus on that.”
With pre-qualifying qualifying a Kawartha championship and the COSSA championship to work for to get to the all-provincials from May 4 to 6 in Pain Court located within the Chatham-Kent area there are enough things for the coach and players to work towards that a third consecutive team title would merely be a residual benefit.
The pre-qualifying for qualifying event for seniors is April 4 with the juniors vying for spot to advance on April 6.