Senior badminton champions crowned

BCI's Amra Alagic returns a low volley en route to winning the Brant County high schools senior girls singles badminton title on Thursday. Brian Thompson / The Expositor

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A year away from the badminton court – and a broken racquet – didn’t slow Austin Snyder on Thursday during the Brant County high school senior badminton championship at Brantford Collegiate Institute.

Playing in the boys singles division, the Grade 12 BCI student captured the championship.

“I thought I had a pretty decent chance,” said Snyder, who won the boys singles title in Grade 10 but skipped the event last year to focus on school.

Snyder knew his opponent in the final, North Park Collegiate’s Zac Colton, would be hard to beat.

And it became even more difficult when Snyder broke his racquet. Fortunately, he was able to use the racquet of his sister, Emma.

All first- and second-place finishers at the Brant County championship qualify for the Central Western Ontario Secondary Schools championship in Waterloo on Thursday.

Will Snyder replace his racquet for CWOSSA?

“This one did me good,” he said of his sister’s equipment. “I just need to put some tape on it.”

In his final year of high school, Snyder said he would like to advance to the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations championship.

“It’ll be interesting. I’ll just go with the flow.”

BCI’s Amra Alagic has played high school badminton since Grade 9, finishing as high as second twice in girls singles. Now in Grade 12, she finally broke through by winning the title.

“It’s a sport I play a lot at school but I don’t play club or anything,” she said.

Alagic had some success during the exhibition season giving her confidence going into the Brant County championship.

“I felt really good,” she said. “I knew there was some good competition. I just needed to do what I needed to do.”

She said her goal for CWOSSA is to play her best.

“I know there’s going to be really good players there.”

The Sitzer twins from Pauline Johnson Collegiate won their first senior girls doubles championship Thursday.

Playing together throughout high school, Maia and Jayd won the county championship in Grade 10 as juniors and they repeated that feat this year for their Grade 12 season.

“I really like playing with Jayd because we think alike,” said Maia.

The sisters are looking forward to CWOSSA.

“For me, it’s just to try our best and see how far we can get,” said Jayd.

“I would really like us to try and place this year, like third,” Maia added.

The North Park Collegiate boys doubles team of Jackson Dostal and Raymond Zhao did what they always do at the Brant County championship – win.

Playing in their first year of senior – both are in Grade 11 – they defeated a second NPC entry in the final.

Zhao said winning the title was a battle.

“That last game turned out to be quite the scrap,” he said. “It was just one point by one point.

“It felt good. I don’t think either team played their full best. Both teams were tired.”

After winning junior boys doubles in Grades 9 and 10, the best result the team has posted at CWOSSA was second last year. And they’d like to repeat that result or move up a spot.

“Hopefully, we can make it to OFSAA,” Dostal said.

North Park’s Candace Rees and James Birch are both in Grade 12 but this is the first time they’ve been partners in badminton.

Despite that lack of experience together, they captured the mixed doubles title.

The team was actually formed in the fall through another sport – tennis.

“She needed a partner for tennis,” Birch said. “I’ve never played tennis before.”

“I pulled him in and taught him to play,” said Rees, recalling how they won the mixed doubles title in that sport, too.

When badminton rolled around, the two decided to team up once again.

“We expected to do pretty good,” said Birch.

Birch has never been to CWOSSA for badminton but Rees has.

In fact, Rees and her girls doubles partner from last year, Jaime Ciere, made OFSAA.

Getting to the next level will be hard, said Rees.

“We’ll have to work.”

In the team standings, NPC accumulated 81 points to edge Paris, which got 80. They were followed by BCI (51), PJC (37), SJC (31) and ACS (30).

The following are the players who placed second at the Brant County championship and who now advance to CWOSSA in Waterloo on Thursday, along with the first-place finishers: Zac Colton, NPC, boys singles; Kristen Anguish, SJC, girls singles; Lei Wa and Gavin Song, ACS, boys doubles; Kate Sitak and Kianna Miller, PDHS, girls doubles; Brooke Lainson and Dalton Kipp, PDHS mixed doubles.