The Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association held their badminton provincial championships May 5-7 at the Prairie Badminton Center in southern Transcona.
JH Bruns Collegiate is the AAA/AAAA overall junior varsity champion for 2021-22.
“Honestly, I can’t praise that,” admitted coach Scott Bell. “The majority of my competitive players play at the club where they are taught. One thing we had in terms of our performance was that a lot of students were keen to get back into the sport.”
JH Bruns’ Justin Joubert finished second in the junior varsity boys’ competition, losing only to Alex MacDiarmid of St John’s Ravenscourt in straight sets in the final.
“He’s a strong player,” Bell said. “He lost to the same opponent in divisional championships.”
Meanwhile, teammate Rylee Normand took third place in the JV girls competition.
“Most of their playing experience is mixed doubles,” Bell said.
Normand went undefeated through the tournament until losing in the semifinals to Fort Richmond’s Ranya Narwhal, who went on to win the provincial title.
Top 10 finishes from Jenny To and Hayden Moore, each going 6-4 in their 10 games, helped cement JH Bruns’ overall score, leading to the school earning the AAA/AAAA JV banner brought home.
“If we look at our junior varsity, we had a full roster of 32 players and had to make cuts as over 50 kids led to trying out,” Bell said.
Ariel Ditchfield of JH Bruns was second in the varsity girls singles. Their loss in the final, 21-8 and 21-13 to the highly favored Serenity Poirier of Lac du Bonnet, was Ditchfield’s only loss of the entire season.
Bell credited the school’s strong sports culture with inspiring students to keep it all on the court.
“It’s been an all-round good performance for our school this year,” said Bell.
Meanwhile, Hailey Pangman and Anika Chowdhury of the Dakota Collegiate finished third in the junior varsity girls’ doubles.
Sheldon Birnie is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. The author of Missing Like Teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock (1990-2001), his writing has appeared in magazines and online platforms across Canada, the US and the UK. Husband and father of two young children, Sheldon enjoys playing guitar and rec-hockey when he finds the time. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Call him at 204-697-7112
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