Badminton player has all the right answers

Games: Mark Lisoway strikes gold in Canmore

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Feb 12, 2014 06:00 am

Edison School student Mark Lisoway from Okotoks won the gold medal in boys singles at the Alberta Winter Games last weekend.
Edison School student Mark Lisoway from Okotoks won the gold medal in boys singles at the Alberta Winter Games last weekend.
Bruce Campbell/OWW

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Even high academic achieving students can ask stupid questions now and then.

“The only dumb question Mark asked me was ‘How do I beat these guys,’’’ said Zone 2 badminton coach Billy Gilliland. “Mark doesn’t realize how good he really is.”

Mark is Mark Lisoway who had all the right answers on the badminton court at the Alberta Winter Games in Canmore as he won the male singles gold medal on Sunday.

He beat Hanson Qin of Calgary 2-1 in the best-of-three final. Qin had beat him earlier in the games in the team event.

“I had played him (in previous tournaments) and he was a precise player with drops, now he had hard smashes,” said Lisoway, a Grade 11 student at Edison School. “I am a steady player and he comes in really fast, as long as I was able to get those first few shots back, he would be tired out.”

Gilliland was not only the coach of Zone 2, he’s also the coach of the Edison Eagles.

“He (Qin) had a really big offence — he comes at you hard and at fast,” Gilliland said. “Mark had to weather the storm and then come back at him. I guess we’re talking about counter-attacking.”

Quin was on the attack in the opening game, winning 21-19.

However, the Edison student weathered the storm, battened down the hatches and came back to win the second game 21-11. He won the gold with a convincing 21-17 win in Game 3.

“All I did was play to his pace and I would let him use his energy,” Lisoway said. “When he started getting tired, that is when I started doing my thing.”

Lisoway went through the round-robin with a perfect 3-0 record, including beating DeWinton’s Kyle Halewich, who represented Lethbridge’s Zone 1. He then took on John Langford from Stettler in the semifinal.

“I played him at least a year ago and he beat me,” Lisoway said. “But I felt decently confident knowing I had beaten someone who had beaten John in an earlier tournament.”

Lisoway beat Langford in three sets to advance to the finals.

A pair of Edison players teamed up to strike silver for Zone 2 in Canmore. Emma Finnegan and Laura Spengler finished second in the girls doubles.

They went 3-0 in the round-robin to advance to the pool of four.

The pair beat Michelle Wang and Cecilia Wolski in the semifinal, 21-15, 21-17.

They then drew Calgary’s Shelby Jones and Sarah Beattie in the final.

Finnegan and Spengler didn’t go into the match brimming with confidence.

“We weren’t confident but we were looking to pressure them, because we have lost to them before and have never really come close to beating them,” Spengler said. “We just wanted to do our best.”

Their best included surprising the Calgary duo with a 21-19 first game victory.

“That was the first time we had ever beat them and we were really excited,” Finnegan said.

However, their momentum ran out as Calgary won the next two games, 21-16, 21-17. The Edison pair was delighted with the Games performance — and getting along is key to their success.

“We know how to communicate to each other — without upsetting each other,” Finnegan said.

Spengler agreed.

“We know when the other is getting frustrated and we help each other out,” she said.

Zone 2 also won the bronze medal in the team event. Edison athletes on the Zone 2 team include Okotoks’ Nicholas Murray and Parker Antal from Cayley as well as the three medal winners.

The Edison players will now work on defending their provincial 1A high school title with divisionals taking place in April at Edison.

bcampbell@okotoks.greatwest.ca


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