Eagles bash to provincial banner
Badminton: Edison top 1A school at Alberta championships in Lethbridge
Wednesday, May 07, 2014 06:00 am
The Eagle has landed on yet another provincial badminton banner.
Edison continued its tradition of excellence in the racquet sport, finishing tops among 1A schools at the High School Provincial Championships in Lethbridge on Saturday led by a golden performance from doubles partners Emma Finnegan and Sara Grisdale.
“It was definitely exciting and I was very proud and happy because last year I didn’t medal at all at provincials,” said Finnegan. “It was very rewarding,”
What a difference a year can make.
After carving an unmarked path to the Intermediate Girls Doubles final with four dominant victories, the Eagles two-some met its match in Harry Ainlay’s Michelle Wang and Rainbow Wong.
After taking the first set, the Ainlay duo fought back by taking the middle game 21-16 with the team’s headed for a winner-take-all third set. That’s when Edison’s teamwork came out.
“In the final game Sara became very frustrated, but as a team we were able to balance each other out,” Finnegan said. “We kept our emotions in check and were able to pull it together.”
The Eagles pulled out the 21-18 win in the third and final game to claim gold something Grisdale attributed to both teamwork and a change in strategy down the stretch.
“I found it hard to keep my cool, but having Emma there as a partner really cooled me down,” Grisdale said. “We were able to strategize and see what we were doing wrong and what they were doing against us so we could counter that.
“Throughout the second game, they were playing with us, just lifting it to us all the time and my strength is one that’s more fast paced. Throughout the third we tried to play different shots and take it to them.”
The provincial gold is Grisdale’s second in as many years after rising to the top at last year’s championships in mixed doubles with former partner Liam Spengler.
“It’s definitely a good feeling to win it twice in a row,” Grisdale said. “Last year definitely wasn’t as hard as this. I felt like I deserved it a lot more this year because we worked a lot harder for it.”
Grade 11 student Laura Spengler just missed out on back-to-back gold medals as a singles player, taking home silver in Intermediate Girls Singles. Edmonton’s Brynn Murphy edged Spengler 22-22, 21-14 in the competitive final.
“I think she was disappointed not to win, but she performed,” said Eagles head coach Billy Gilliland. “She got up for her games, she played as well as she could have on the day.”
Edison’s Mark Lisoway dug up a bronze in Intermediate Boys Singles. The Grade 11 student lost to Wonik Jin, the eventual gold medallist, and bounced back to triumph over Bryce Kopec in straight sets to claim the final spot on the podium in what was a very deep division in Lethbridge.
“Mark played well,” Gilliland said. “He came up with a bronze medal and it could have just as easily been gold or silver just depending on the day. I was quite pleased with him.”
The senior member of the Eagles team worked to wrap up his high school career with another medal. Grade 12 student Tyler Glen earned the silver medal in the Category-B division of the Senior Boys Singles ranks, dropping a three-set thriller (19-21, 21-18, 21-19) to James Qwon of the South Region in the final.
The podium parade extended down to the Junior ranks where experience didn’t account for the bronze medal showing from Edison’s Junior Boys Singles team.
The new unit of Nicholas Murray and Jacob Glen held their own in Lethbridge, posting a 3-0 record in round-robin. A semifinal loss pushed the Eagles duo into a bronze-medal showdown with Kyle Poapst and Ryland Stefanik which they took in two sets (21-11, 25-23).
Rounding out the Edison contingent was the Junior Girls Doubles team of Samantha Lane and Melina Watson, who finished just outside the podium in fourth.
“Melina has played in a couple competitions outside of school, but Samantha never does. She’s thrown into a provincial championship and handled it very well,” Gilliland said. “They earned the number four spot, but past that was too difficult.”
The Eagles representatives finished no lower than fourth in Lethbridge and with each victory counting towards the overall tabulation, locking down yet another banner was very much a team effort.
“Even the people that didn’t go home with a medal, they definitely contributed,” Grisdale said. “They were feeling really good about that, too.
“The fact we do have a facility there at our school and we’re known for badminton, that feels really good to keep up that reputation.”
A reputation not just for winning, but for representing the program with class and carrying on badminton’s traditional virtues.
“We are known as a school that’s tough to beat, but our team we will win or lose with equal sportsmanship,” Gilliland said. “That’s more important in some ways.
“I’ve never seen our players throw a tantrum or display any bad sportsmanship at all. I’m delighted with that, very, very proud of them.”
For the full list of results from the Badminton provincial championship go to asaa.ca