Huskies capture men’s and women’s singles titles at provincials and takes top spot in national rankings
The Huskies badminton teams are heading to the national championships, ranked number one in the nation. George Brown College’s (GBC) performance at the Ontario championships showed exactly why.
At the provincial tournament, hosted by Mohawk College on Feb. 16 to 17, the Huskies claimed both the men’s and women’s team titles and picked up medals in all five disciplines, collecting two golds, two silvers and a bronze.
Huskies head coach Will Schram said there are always surprises and ups and downs at tournaments, but he was extremely pleased with the team.
“I know our athletes. I know what the talent is,” said Schram, who was named Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) coach of the year. “I know what their season has been so far. I strongly felt that we’d have four disciplines (making nationals).”
In what has become a regular event, Yuge (Ace) Zeng claimed yet another singles title, beating Fanshawe College’s Sahil Sahil in straight games in the final. Zeng, who is undefeated all season, put up a spotless 7-0 mark.
Zeng, the 2018 OCAA Male Badminton Player of the Year, has won every tournament this year and will look to add a national crown at the Badminton National Championships in Edmonton.
Minh Anh Hoang punched her ticket to the national championships by taking home gold in women’s singles. Hoang, an OCAA All-Star, went undefeated, beating Fanshawe’s Riley Hogan in the final.
In women’s doubles, fifth-year player Yunji Kim teamed up with Angeline Alviar for a silver medal. Kim and Alviar lost the title match to Humber College’s Elizabeth Duong and Chloe Rowe. The second-place finish was especially important for Kim, as it secured a trip to the national championships in her final season.
“I’ve been to nationals before once with Angeline and I really wanted to make it again in my last year,” said Kim.
On the men’s doubles side, Alex Chao and Yang Jin bounced back from a tough semi-final loss to earn the bronze, knocking off University of Toronto Mississauga’s Gary Kwok-Chun Tin and Thanh Tran Lam. While they will not be competing at the nationals, both Chao and Jin were named OCAA All-Stars.
Mike Ra and Amy Ding combined to add a silver to GBC’s medal haul in mixed doubles. The Huskies duo were defeated by Crystal (Yuying) Qu and Arpit Teneja of Humber in the championship match. The finish has the pair off to Edmonton for the nationals, an achievement not lost on the Huskies head coach.
“I’d say Mike Ra and Amy Ding surprised me. They were third at regionals,” said Schram, who felt at that point the pair “weren’t playing to the best of their abilities.”
After an 0-2 start in this tournament, Ra and Ding turned it around winning their next four matches and making it to the finals.
“It was a very nice surprise because they’ve been working really hard on improving their game,” said Schram.
The Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Championships will be held from Feb. 28 to March 3 at Concordia University of Edmonton.