The Woodland Christian High School badminton team has been tearing up the local and regional tournament circuit this season, amassing a third straight District 8 senior championship as well as numerous gold, silver and bronze medals at the Central Western Ontario Secondary Schools Association and Ontario Christian Secondary School Athletic Association tournaments.
“We had a strong team this year,” coach Jamie Wright explained. “Wayne Harris and I have been working on building the program for a number of years. We started coaching the team six years ago and we have worked on recruiting good athletes and training them well and there has been a lot of success in the last few years; we have had a number of good athletes come through.”
On April 24-25, the team put together a strong showing at the OCSSAA finals at Brock University in St. Catharines.
Drew Carrick and Julia DeWeerd won gold in senior mixed doubles; Spencer Carrick picked up gold in senior singles; Dan Baczynskyj and Frank Xu earned silver in junior boys doubles; Daniel Wilford picked up a bronze in junior boys singles and Mariah Jolin and Melena Lagana placed third in senior girls doubles.
Earlier in the month, the squad dominated the District 8 tournament.
The senior pairs teams of Drew Carrick and Julia DeWeerd, Mariah Jolin and Melena Lagana, and Spencer Carrick and Brendan Vandergeest all won gold medals. Daniel Wilford earned the bronze in junior boys singles as did the junior boys pair Daniel Baczynskyj and Frank Xu.
The duo of Carrick and Vandergeest also scored a second place finish at CWOSSA, which earned the pair a spot at the provincial showdown in Markham.
“We have two boys that have accomplished the rare feat of qualifying for the provincial championship (Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations, OFSAA), which is very rare because it’s tougher to qualify in badminton than in other sports because they don’t have separate classifications (A, AA, AAA etc.), it’s just one group altogether, which makes it very difficult,” Wright said. “CWOSSA is very difficult because you’ve got hundreds of players from all different levels of school classifications; it’s the best-of-the-best from each district no matter the school size.”
The boys were scheduled to take on the province’s best high school badminton players at the brand new Atos Markham Pan Am Centre April 30 to May 1.