Badminton: Early in season, team put to test

April 5, 2010 — by Lillian Chen and Kevin Mu

In the normally tame world of high school badminton, a rowdy crowd of players gathers around a single court. The crowd erupts in cheering and applause after each point.

With lightning-fast reflexes, sophomore Jeffrey Kuo blocks an impossibly fast smash from his opponent, Gunn High School’s Charlie Yang. With flawless footwork, Yang makes it to the net for a cross-court net drop. But it’s too late. Anticipating the shot, Kuo storms to the net, and with a flick of his wrist the birdie strikes the floor. Kuo clenches his fist in satisfaction—the match is over.

Saratoga’s Jeffrey Kuo and Gunn’s Charlie Yang have long been rivals on the court. They are both nationally ranked players and the strongest players on their respective teams, but Kuo ultimately triumphed in their latest match-up, defeating Yang in two games (15-11, 15-10).

“It’s really amazing to see them play. They’re both extremely talented players and make watching games exciting” said JV singles player Vivian LeTran.

Along with his badminton skills, Kuo has brought a certain star quality to the team. His matches are always packed with excited teammates from both sides.

Kuo’s games are always a fan-favorite attraction.

“There are always a lot of people lined up to watch Jeffrey Kuo play,” said LeTran.

Despite having top talent, the team has struggled for wins early in the season. A 16-14 loss to Lynbrook on April 1 puts the team at 1-2 for the season.

In their first game against the Gunn Titans, who were the league champions last year, Saratoga lost 19-11, but close wins from Kuo helped the Falcons put up a good fight compared to last year.

Head coach John Phung believes that the team hasn’t lived up to its full potential and hopes to take down the reigning league champs in a later match.

The Falcons rallied in their second game of the season, defeating Wilcox High School 20-10.

For many players new to the varsity team, the first win of a season marked a momentous occasion.

“I’m proud of the team members for stepping up to take responsibilities and help their peers. This year is a great year for us to redeem our program and bring league titles back to Saratoga High School,” said Phung.

“It was a great feeling,” said JV mixed doubles player Ariel Cheng “but I think we definitely have to work harder to be more competitive with some of the other teams.”

Despite the hours of practice and the miles of improvement demonstrated by the team, they will have to present a stronger showing if they hope to achieve their goal of finishing in the top three teams.

“We have a lot of great players this year, so hopefully we have a chance at winning,” said varsity mixed doubles player Angie Chang.

1 view this week