Badminton: Key addition helps Falcons seize early victories March 20, 2018 — by Sherrie Shen and Callia Yuan Badminton team hopes to go undefeated during league competition after the addition of nationally ranked players. Then 10-year-old Cameron Chow stood in the middle of the court, racket ready, at the 2012 Pan Am Junior Badminton Championships in Puerto Rico. After having placed second in boys’ singles at the Junior Invitational Trials earlier that year, Chow was invited to represent the U.S. team at the Pan Am Games. Chow started training in second grade, influenced by his older brother Bryan, who was at one point nationally ranked No. 1 in Under-17 boys’ singles. “After placing 10th in the nation [in Under-13 boys’ singles], I hit a plateau and stopped improving in the sport,” Chow said. “I decided to try volleyball instead, since my sister plays volleyball and I wanted to try a team sport.” In his freshman year, Chow played volleyball on the school team. However, following a sprain to his right foot that summer after he jumped and landed on another person's foot, Chow, now a sophomore, decided to play to badminton, which is less straining on his injury. He currently plays varsity No. 1 mixed doubles with senior captain Catherine Zhang. Despite taking a hiatus from the sport for two years, Chow is still one of the best players on the team. In the Falcon’s first conference game against Los Altos on March 8, Chow and Zhang quickly won an early match 21-7, 21-14. The Falcons ended up beating Los Altos 23-7. JV won 8-7. On March 13, the Falcons played against the Firebirds at Fremont High with varsity winning 25-5 and JV winning 14-1. On March 15, the Falcons faced Homestead High at home, varsity winning 21-9 and JV 11-4. One key player missing from the Falcons’ lineup in these three games is freshman Ryan Hsiao, a nationally ranked player. Since Hsiao just transferred from King’s Academy in Sunnyvale this semester, the administration is still processing Hsiao’s transfer forms. Hsiao anticipates being able to play in conference games starting March 20. As a result, the Falcons are hopeful that they can take first in the lower El Camino League and move back up to the De Anza league next year. Senior captains Stephen Ding and Austin Wang have even promised to dye their hair if the team goes undefeated in league competition. “Even though our team is still pretty young and we have a lot of underclassmen, everyone’s been improving really quickly and I think we’re going to have a pretty strong team for next year in the upper division,” Zhang said. Due to printing deadlines, the Falcon could not cover the results of the conference games against Los Gatos on March 20 and Mountain View on March 22.