After a tumultuous season filled with victories and losses, the Palo Alto High School badminton team is looking to end the team season on a high note at the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League from May 4 through 6 at Homestead High School.
Up until this point, badminton competitions have been played on a team basis. At SCVALs and later competitions, however, the athletes begin to play independently, meaning they do not depend on Paly’s success to move on to further rounds.
“Our goal is to have at least one team move on to CCS,” senior team captain Ally Zhu said. “Also, since there’s around 28 teams per event, I hope a majority of the team can make it to the top 16.”
Players who perform in the top four in their event at SCVALs will move on to the Central Coast Section tournament at Independence High School in mid-May. Students who perform well at CCS can then move on to the NorCals competition, which marks the conclusion of the badminton season, according to Zhu.
“Since CCS is only top four, I don’t know how many people will move on but I think we’ll do well,” varsity player and junior Tilak Misner said. “We have a good chance of having people go far in [the SCVALs] tournament.”
Players likely to move on to CCS include the mixed doubles team consisting of senior Flavia Stiglich and junior Michael Chau.
“They are the top two players on the team so they are playing together to see how far they can get,” Zhu said.
According to Misner, the team has been preparing with regular practices for SCVALs-only athletes.
“It’s pretty much regular practice with less people,” Misner said.
According to Zhu, the badminton season has been somewhat successful so far.
“We lost a lot of important seniors so we came in knowing that it was going to be a tough season,” Zhu said. “Our main goal was to not get dropped to the lower league by getting two wins but we ended up with three, and technically one more due to forfeit. Additionally, we were a lot more of a team than last year. Last year it was more of people in their own cliques during games but this year there was a lot more team dynamics during games.”