Season Preview: Badminton team looks to dominate with new players

Julia Qiao, Author

Freshman Raymon Chen and junior Kevin Zhang practice their doubles formation. Paly Badminton team will be facing off against Cupertino High School tomorrow. Photo: Miguel Moreno
Freshmen Raymon Chen and junior Kevin Zhang practice their doubles formation at a badminton practice at Gunn High School today. “I am excited about joining the badminton community and the Paly team in general,” Chen said. “I hope to improve and just have fun.” Photo: Miguel Moreno.

The Palo Alto High School badminton team will be kicking off its season with the first league match at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow at Cupertino High School.

The badminton team must travel to cross-town rival Gunn High School for each practice as a result of the Big Gym demolition.

“We’re grateful for the fact that we do have a beautiful gym to use for the season,” assistant coach Arne Lim said. “However … always traveling to Gunn for everything sometimes gets a bit tiring.”

Despite this inconvenience, the team is still optimistic about its prospects at the Santa Clara Valley Athletics League Championship and Central Coast Section Championship.

According to senior team captain Josh Ng, the team’s goal is to get more people to go to CCS and to stay in the upper division of the De Anza League.

“Last year, we got four people to go to CCS,” Ng said. “Our men’s doubles team got second at CCS.”

Ng hopes to replicate that success and increase the amount of players placing in events.

“Personally, I would love to finish in the top three in SCVAL De Anza,” Lim said. “It is not out of the realm of possibility to win it all … because we do have some top-notch talent.”

One of the challenges the team faces this year is the loss of alumni, Joseph Chang, Daniel Cohen-Wang and Promise Lee and sophomore Jackie Cai. Last year, Lee and Cai placed fifth in girls’ doubles at CCS.

Among those who have joined the team are junior Flavia Stiglich, nationally ranked sophomore Michael Chau and freshman Raymon Chen. According to Lim, Stiglich is a former member of the Peruvian National Badminton team.

Last year, seniors Eric Chiang, a current team member, and James Wang, a former team member, placed second in men’s doubles at CCS.