Both Cochrane high schools saw players from their own badminton teams square off against teammates in the medal rounds of last weekend’s Rocky View Sports Association divisional tournament in Airdrie.
Two of Cochrane High’s Grade 10 boys double players went head-to-head and “both played for gold, ” said Cobras coach Jason Crawford, while Bow Valley Bobcats badminton coach Eric Richard said two pairs of senior girls took to the court to battle for top spot in the Grade 12 doubles category, too.
“It sounded pretty intense, ” said Richard.
Cochrane High School took 53 players from Grades 9 to 12 to compete, while Bow Valley travelled with 35.
In total, Cochrane High brought home 11 gold medals, four silvers and five bronze, and the team as a whole earned enough points to be named second overall.
Four Bow Valley players and 11 from Cochrane High will now advance to the Alberta Schools Athletic Assocation south central senior high zones and will compete on home turf, since the two schools are co-hosting the competition at the end of April.
Badminton players from Brooks to Banff, Drumheller to Sundre will participate.
“(We’ll see) some good badminton … a crowded gym with lots of athletes and families watching, ” said Richard, adding the top two from zones move on to ASAA provincials in Red Deer next month.
To prepare for the tournament, Richard said he and his colleagues will spend every day after school on the court, working with players on things like positioning.
“The coaches will play against them and point out things that they can do offensively or defensively, ” he said.
Crawford said he also runs 10 practices a week, and it takes strategy, speed and “smarts on the court ” to succeed at badminton.
“It’s either them or them and their partner, ” he said. “Some kids thrive under the pressure. ”
The ASAA south central senior high zones will be played at Cochrane and Bow Valley high schools, along with Mitford Middle School, April 29. This will be the first time in at least five years that Cochrane will host the zones.