Season Recap: Badminton team moving down to El Camino League

Marvin Zou and Eric Bo-Han Yap

Junior Jonathan Mi attempts to serve while sophomore Ivy Wang prepares to return. Mi and Wang’s victory in the crucial match against cross-town rival Gunn High School marked a highlight for the Vikings this year. Photo: Marvin Zou

Following a series of unexpected obstacles and losses, the Palo Alto High School badminton team (2-10) will be relegated to the lower El Camino league after finishing last in the De Anza league standings.

The Vikings had a shortage of players throughout the season and were often unable to overcome the matches they had to forfeit because of a lack of players. As a result, many losses did not accurately reflect the team’s overall performance. Additionally, multiple issues including almost not having a coach and a late training schedule made for a tough season, according to sophomore captain Ivy Wang.

“One of the reasons we had such a rough season was because we almost didn’t have coaches,” Wang said. “We began tryouts and training much later than the other schools, so we went into the season unprepared.”  

For many of the games, the Vikings were forced to forfeit two of their varsity girls’ doubles matches, which lost them three points for each match.

The team was unable to find a rhythm or momentum at any point in the season, winning only two games throughout the season.

Although relegating to the lower league was a disappointing ending to the Vikings’ season, beating their cross-town rivals of Gunn twice this season was a silver lining the team held on to.

Junior Jonathan Mi said that the two wins against the Titans were one of the biggest highs of this season.

“The way we played against Gunn was definitely the best we played throughout the season,” Mi said. “It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t replicate our success against other teams in the league, but it’s nice to know that we beat them twice.”

Even though the team will be playing in the lower league next season, Mi is still optimistic about the upcoming year.

“Getting relegated is definitely sad knowing that we won’t be able to play against higher level competition, but there are still many great teams and players in the lower league that we’re looking forward to facing next year,” Mi said. “We’ll have a much better chance of winning our league next year and hopefully we can get more players to join the team.”

In light of the many challenges the team faced, the Vikings have definitely improved throughout the season, according to Wang.

“Personally, I think the team has made major improvements since the start of the season, and we had two teams go all the way to Norcals,” Wang said.

The Vikings also had three players on the team qualify for the Central Coast Section playoffs this season. The mixed doubles pair of senior Dylan Zou and sophomore Ivy Wang finished 4th in CCS and 6th in the Northern California playoffs while freshman Brandon Wu finished 3rd in CCS and 5th in Norcals.

According to Wang, the team captains are looking forward to next year’s season and the implementation of a plethora of changes.

“Next year, we’d like to have preseason training and develop a more effective practice plan once the season begins,” Wang said. “Next year, my goal would be for [the Vikings] to become the league champion of the El Camino Division.”

This season’s graduating seniors are Dylan Zou, Zakir Ahmad, Ruby shen, Jessica Lee, Maggie Cheung Daniel Jin, and Maya Star-lack