The Fraser Heights Firehawks gathered for a photo with the BC School Sports banner after winning the provincial high school badminton championship. In the back row (left to right) are David Dryden (coach)

The Fraser Heights Firehawks gathered for a photo with the BC School Sports banner after winning the provincial high school badminton championship. In the back row (left to right) are David Dryden (coach)

Firehawks defend provincial badminton championship

Surrey school ties B.C. high school record in Kamloops

While winning their second consecutive B.C. High School Badminton Championship, the Fraser Heights Firehawks tied a provincial record.

The Surrey school compiled a 59-7 won-lost record, the best record for a championship team since the H.J. Cambie Crusaders of Richmond set the standard in 1999.

“This could be the greatest single team performance in provincial badminton history,” said Firehawks head coach Dave Dryden. “The team really came together as one and played exceptionally well. And with majority of players graduating this year, it was an emotional win for everyone.”

The 16-team tournament, staged May 28-30 in Kamloops, consisted of a round robin with four groups, followed by quarterfinal, semifinal and final matches. Fraser Heights was dominate in round robin play, blanking the David Thompson Lakers of Invermere and the St. Michael’s University School of Victoria by 11-0 scores. They also defeated the Winston Churchill Bulldogs 10-1.

The playoffs began with an 11-0 victory over the Semiahmoo Totems, and continued with an 8-3 triumph over Steveston-London of Richmond. They then topped St. George’s/Crofton House 8-3, in the third consecutive provincial championship match between the two rivals. The Vancouver team won in 2013, with the Firehawks taking the title last year.

A key to the victory, noted Dryden, was the success of the female players.

“In the final in 2013 and 2014, we had never taken a girls match,” he said. “This year, we took three.”

Grade 12 players Stella Sto and Alison Wu won a girls doubles match, as did Kitty Qiu and Grade 11 Cindy Chen. Grade 11 Jenna Wong, one of three national team players in the Fraser Heights group, later won a girls singles match.

“The two girls doubles victories were big upsets, with both matches ending about a minute apart, and shifting the dynamic of the championship,” said Dryden. “The ending was anti-climatic, unlike the last two years when it came down to the mixed doubles matches with the score tied 5-5. But it was sweet nonetheless.”

Grade 12 national team member James Ho teamed with Wong to win a mixed doubles match, with Ho also winning in boy singles. Grade 12s Muen Guo and Isaac Chang combined for a pair of boys doubles victories. Daryl Yang, a Grade 9 student and national team member, teamed with Ben Hwang for another victory in boys doubles competition.

Other members of the girls team were Grade 10 student Tracy Chen, and Grade 12s Lily Cheng and Jennifer Yoon.

The boys team also included Grade 10 David Kim and Grade 12s Eric Tsai and Kevin Ma.

Surrey North Delta Leader