Badminton Muskies host home tourney

Joey Payeur

Brian Church is busy tinkering with the lineup for this year’s Muskie badminton team after its annual pre-season exhibition tournament here Friday.
“Many of the students had a cold start and lost their first match of the day, partially due to nerves and partially due to insufficient warm-up,” said Church.
“Since the exhibition tournament consisted of a single match to 21 [points], many of the players would have liked to have had a chance to play some opponents again.
“At the NorWOSSA qualifier [today in Sioux Lookout], all matches will be the best two out of three, so they will get that chance at this tournament,” he noted.
There was no need for change, though, when it came to the team’s most accomplished performer from last season.
Grade 10 player Aaron Bujold—fresh off a NorWOSSA gold and NWOSSAA silver that earned him a spot at OFSAA a year ago—once again will play above his grade level in the senior boys singles’ division.
Bujold got off to a good start on home court Friday, winning all five of his matches by at least 12 points.
Jacob Jack also went undefeated in senior boys’ singles play, with at least a five-point margin of victory in each of his five matches.
The senior girls’ doubles team of Caity Visser and Marissa Loveday finished with a 3-3 record, with only one of their losses being a blowout.
Meanwhile, there will be a switch in plans for the Muskie senior mixed doubles pairing of Janelle Ball and Jonah McCormick, who ended up 0-6 on the day.
“They had a few close matches but they have decided to try a different event this week,” said Church.
He didn’t specify what category Ball would play in but noted McCormick will team up with his brother, Shaye, for senior boys’ doubles in Sioux Lookout.
The younger McCormick posted an 0-5 mark in junior boys’ singles action Friday.
As for the junior boys’ doubles team of Chad Westover and Dakota Jernberg, they posted a 6-1 mark and lost their only match by a mere three points.
“I have high hopes for their performance,” said Church.
The most popular record for the Muskie juniors on Friday was 3-2.
That mark was achieved by Callum Galusha (boys’ singles), Katelynn Jack (girls’ singles), Mykenzie Borger and Hunter Brown (mixed doubles), and Sam Westover and Shayton Ottertail (mixed doubles).
“Both of Mykenzie and Hunter’s losses were close games,” Church recalled.
Andrea Schram went 2-3 in junior girls’ singles play while Taylor Vlotaros was 0-4.
“Most games were very close, so I will be looking for some improvement in the record for all the girls,” Church said.
The junior girls’ doubles team of Janissa Judson and Samantha Berg finished 2-3 while Mikaelah Yerxa and Jasmine Jourdain wound up 1-4.
Today’s qualifier will include the same schools which travelled here Friday.
They include the host Sioux Lookout Warriors, the Ignace Falcons, the Atikokan Voyageurs, the Dryden Eagles, and Pelican Falls.
The top three in each division today advance to the NorWOSSA finals next Wednesday (April 13) in Atikokan.