The Palo Alto High School badminton team (4-8), under first-year coach Justin Halas, is looking to improve next year after playing well on Senior Night, winning 18-12 against Los Altos High School.
Despite the big win, junior captain Eric Chiang explained the reasons for the expected down year.
“This year, we lost a lot of senior players that were the core of the team last year, so there were a lot of spots to fill at the beginning of this season,” Chiang said. “Many of the people in the varsity roster this year were on the JV lineup last year.”
In addition to losing 15 seniors, the team’s previous coach was replaced midway through the season by Justin Halas.
“The new coach [has] enforced high practice and game attendance,” Chiang said. “I think as a team, we have improved greatly since the beginning of the season.”
Halas, the brother of Paly varsity boys’ football coach Jake Halas, explained his reasons for taking the job.
“The great thing about coaching is that you kind of get the same feeling as you did when you were a player,” Halas said. “So it’s great to share and teach the kids and see them start from no experience. It’s a good team atmosphere, which is why people like to coach.”
According to Halas, the team will improve next year because of playing experience gained this year.
“We’re a young team so there’s not much leadership,” Halas said. “We’ve got a lot of sophomores and juniors that are kind of rebuilding here. So I think that next year, once we get the team back, there will be a lot of senior leadership and we will be able to have a title next year.”
Varsity badminton junior Priya Misner says that although the team has strengths, there is still room for improvement.
“I guess one of our strengths is that we are a really good team and people are very versatile, so they can play many different positions,” Misner said. “The one thing that we need to improve on is consistency because some games we play really well and we beat teams that our track record would say we wouldn’t be able to beat, but sometimes we lose to teams that we all think we should be able to win against.”
The Paly badminton team will play its final game at 3:30 p.m. today at Monta Vista High School.
Editor’s note: This article has been changed to read that Senior Night was played against Los Altos High School.