Badminton underway

Carah Oftedal sets up a serve in mixed doubles. The Grade 9 Jonas Samson Junior High School student took part in the badminton tournament at Gateway Elementary School in Meadow Lake April 12.

Carah Oftedal sets up a serve in mixed doubles. The Grade 9 Jonas Samson Junior High School student took part in the badminton tournament at Gateway Elementary School in Meadow Lake April 12.

By Phil Ambroziak

Badminton season is once again in full swing at schools throughout the province.
Locally, these include both Jonas Samson Junior High School and Carpenter High School respectively.
“We have had a good season so far – the team’s been good with a lot of return players and some new ones,” remarked CHS badminton coach Darren Forbes. “Our boys doubles team is one of the best again this year.”
According to Forbes, standout players include Brett Leclaire and Brandon Lewis, who’ve achieved gold at almost every tournament they’ve competed in so far this season. On Friday (April 12), CHS took part at the Mega Birdie tournament in Maidstone where the duo earned silver.
“Mega Birdie is a huge (exhibition) tournament for all schools around the province,” Forbes added. “The students get to play the competition from a lot of different schools, and get a look at who they might be playing against in placement competition. All of our teams finished first in their pools, but the boys doubles was the only team to make it to the finals. They (Lewis and Leclaire) were pretty exhausted by then, having played seven sets in a row.”
Carpenter was scheduled to host a tournament on Saturday (April 13), but the event was cancelled when only two visiting teams could make the trip to Meadow Lake. This coming weekend (April 20), CHS will compete at home in division play.
“The top two in each category will move on to districts,” Forbes said. “Districts take place here April 27, the weekend after and will likely include teams from across the northwest district. None of those teams (aside from Leclaire and Lewis) have competed (in placement competition), so nobody has really stood out yet. We’ll see how these placement tournaments go.”
Forbes concluded by expressing his optimism in a strong finish for Carpenter by the end of the season.
“I’m glad I have another year working with some of these guys,” he said. “I really hope these boys doubles can place (at provincials) this year. They’ve worked really well and I think they can make it happen.”
This past weekend also saw the badminton team from Jonas Samson Junior High School take to the court. A singles tournament was held Friday at JSJH while players also travelled to Maidstone for Mega Birdie on Saturday. Winners from Friday’s event included a gold medal for Kolby Lewis in boys singles, silver for Dayna Henry in girls singles, bronze for Darsi Kahpeaysewat in girls singles, silver medals for Zach Zacharias and Carah Oftedal in mixed doubles and bronze for Devri Michel and Coaltin Buxton in mixed doubles. Saturday’s event resulted in gold for Michel and Buxton in mixed doubles, silver for Janae Seidel and Baley Epp in girls doubles and silver for Kolby Lewis in boys singles.
JSJH coach Rob Kozinski said the team is working toward division playoffs, scheduled for April 24 at CHS followed by districts in Lloydminster April 27.
“Our first tournament of the year was held March 16 at Paradise Hill,” he added. We took eight kids and placed somewhere around fourth and fifth place. We have a lot of talent in our gym. It’s always a proud moment for the kids and for me when we hear other teams talking about Jonas Samson and how good the team is. As a coach, it gives me hope for districts.”

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