Huskies begin badminton playoff push

With several recent medals, George Brown heading into East Regionals with a deep roster

The dress rehearsal is over.

After four months of action across Ontario, George Brown’s badminton team heads to Centennial College to begin their post-season journey at the East Regional. The expectations are high for this group with five singles, three doubles (men’s and women’s), and two mixed doubles titles over the past season.

For the Huskies, who are ranked fourth nationally, expect a strong showing at the regional tournament. Each school can enter a maximum of two singles players in each of the men’s and women’s fields and one team in doubles. The top three in each discipline from the East and West regionals will advance to the provincial championship.

While badminton head coach Will Schram wouldn’t tip his hand on his roster heading in, he is confident in his group.

“The majority of our team should do quite well,” he said. “Overall, in my opinion, I think almost our entire team should advance from regionals to provincials. Finishing top three is very doable.”

All eyes will be on first-year Huskies standout Yuge (Ace) Zeng who has simply dominated men’s singles play. Zeng captured gold at all four tournaments he entered and added a men’s doubles title on his home court in December.

Despite all the success, Zeng isn’t about to rest on his laurels.

“I can’t be too relaxed because many players are training so hard to play with me, so I can’t look past them,” he said.

“He’s won every single tournament so far this year,” Schram said. “We definitely have a lot of high hopes for him to do very well, to finish strongly in regionals and provincials and go nationally.”

On the women’s side, the Huskies will look to veteran Yunji Kim. The fifth-year player is returning to the scene of some recent success, winning a singles title at Centennial in mid-January. Kim also picked up a silver in singles at Fanshawe in November.

In men’s doubles, Alex Chao and Yang Jin are a threat as they teamed up to take top honours at Centennial. On the women’s doubles side, Angeline Alviar has a gold and two silvers this year.

As for the competition, it’s at the provincials where the Huskies see their biggest test.

“Our main competition is Humber,” said Schram, adding that a top-two finish at the provincials is the goal. As for the regionals, he is quite confident.

“Regionals we should do quite well based on the fact that at Centennial, for example, when Humber wasn’t there, which is our stiffest competition, we won everything,” Schram said. “It depends on what Humber does but our goal is to finish top-two at provincials and then nationals.”

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Huskies begin badminton playoff push