It was a crowded two days at the regional secondary school badminton championships earlier this month, with just short of ten schools qualifying for the provincials in five categories. Amongst the victors earning their way to the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) championships were senior boys doubles team of Eric Luo and Ian Naisby from EDSS.
Claiming the second-place spot at regionals, the duo will be heading to Nipissing University this week as the Elmira’s lone competitors vying for provincial glory, with the games set to kick off at 10 a.m. today (Thursday).
“We’re pretty excited. We could have made it last year, but we were like fourth-place last year,” said Naisby. “We need to make second, so we were just a little bit short last year.”
Luo and Naisby had cut a swath through the Central Western Ontario Secondary Schools Association (CWOSSA) regionals last month. The team almost saw their season end early after suffering a crucial loss, they say, but were able to earn their way back to earn a second place finish in the senior boys’ doubles.
“It was a little shaky. There was one team that we didn’t expect to lose to. It was a rough game, we lost to them but then we came back. We had to go to the losers’ bracket, and just make our way [back],” said Luo.
“Playing a lot of extra games,” added Naisby with a laugh.
The pair have had each other’s backs the past three years, with the team earning a previous CWOSSA championship in their junior year.
“We’ve been playing for three years so we’re very good together,” said Luo.
“We won CWOSSA in junior but then there was … no OFSAA in junior, so it just kind of stopped at CWOSSA,” added Naisby.
This time, the pair will have the chance to take their game further with a showing at the provincials in the senior boys doubles category. Though the pair are going in with their heads held high, they know the competition will be fierce, as the province’s top teams come to compete for the Ontario-title.
“Well there are definitely certain regions, especially in Toronto that are going to have much higher placed players who are like in the high provincial and even national level,” said Luo.
There are 40 teams in the men’s doubles, leaving little doubt the competition would be tough.
“I don’t know. We can go there, we’ll have fun, we’ll do the best we can and see what happens,” says Luo.
The games get underway at the Nippissing University today, with the conclusion of the OFSAA championships set for Saturday at 2:30 p.m.