Badminton team starts more rigorous training February 10, 2020 — by Cici Xu and Christine Zhang Falcons have their sights set on remaining in the upper division and sending star players to CCS. Coach: John Li Last year’s record: 3-11 Recap: After moving into the upper De Anza League after the 2017-2018 season, the team struggled against tougher opponents but managed to remain in the upper league. Key additions: senior Cameron Chow Key matchups: Wilcox, Gunn Star players: senior Cameron Chow, juniors Katie Chen and Ryan Hsiao, sophomore Adrian Mar Key losses to graduation: Nathan Luk, Nicholas Zhang League: De Anza League Prognosis: After defeating Palo Alto twice and Gunn once last season, the Falcons secured the seventh seed in the more competitive De Anza league. According to junior captain Katie Chen, the team’s goal for this season is to remain in the upper division. The Falcons have also set their sights on sending sophomore Adrian Mar and junior Ryan Hsiao to CCS as individuals. Head coach John Li, who was new to the team last season, will be returning this year, alongside newcomer assistant coach Danny Mok. The coaches plan to focus on improving players’ stamina through conditioning, a contrast to previous years’ focus on footwork and drills. They began team conditioning on Feb. 3, running two to three miles and running up and down the bleachers on the football field. The team will be facing the same tough schools as last year, but with the loss of several key players to graduation, returning and incoming players will need to take on better opponents individually. A key player is senior Cameron Chow, who is returning to the badminton team after playing volleyball for his junior year. In his sophomore year, Chow was the No. 1 mixed doubles player for the badminton team. He said he decided to play badminton instead of volleyball this year because he wanted to spend the season with his friends on the team. Additionally, Chen added that a recurring issue for the team is their shortage of players for girls’ events. “Last year, we had to forfeit some JV girls’ events, and we might have even fewer girls this year,” Chen said. “So with the lack of girls, it means that the girls who are on the team will have to play higher ranking positions.” However, Li said that the team has a good chance of staying in the upper division, despite their relatively small numbers. “We don’t have enough good players, but we do have them,” Li said. “We just have to strategize between matches, and we have a pretty good chance against schools like Milpitas, Gunn and Wilcox.” The team’s first conference game will take place against Monta Vista on March 10.