Season preview: Badminton back on track

Mary McNamara, Author

Freshman Jackie Cai works hard in badminton practice. Photo courtesy of Joseph Chang.
Freshman Jackie Cai works hard in badminton practice. Photo courtesy of senior Joseph Chang.

Despite technical confusions with the coaching staff and finding room to practice, the Palo Alto High School Badminton team is aiming high for this season and hopes to win De Anza League.

The team did not win Santa Clara Valley Athletic League finals or Central Coast Section finals, however they did well by staying in the top of the league, according to junior player Alby Leng.

Initially, at the beginning of this season, the team struggled to find courts to practice on, according to Leng.

“Basketball had court priority so we had to always play in the small gym,” Leng said. “We had a ton of people trying out but no court space, so people got frustrated with having to play in the dance studio.”

At the beginning of this season the team also lacked a head coach, and the team was temporarily led by last year’s assistant coach, Leonard Hill, until a new head coach could be found.  Since then, Justin Halas has been hired to take over as head coach. Senior Captain Joesph Chang said he gives Halas his full support.

“I have confidence in Coach Halas,” Chang said. “I know he can bring the best out of each of us.”

Halas said the team is still learning as its early in the season, the team is still learning how to work with each other.

“There are still a lot of unknowns, but our goal is to find a way to work together,” Halas said.

According to Chang, despite losing key seniors last year the team has found a balance between new players and veterans.

“We have some very talented young players such as Jacqueline Cai and Emily Yu as well as good support and leadership from established veterans such as Eric Chiang and Promise Lee,” Chang said.

This year the team’s goal is to stay in the upper league of De Anza, according to junior Josh Ng.

The Vikings will take on Monta Vista High School on March 25 at home in their first match.