Muskie badminton season underway

Lucas Punkari

A new campaign for the Muskie badminton team got underway last Thursday as the squad travelled to Sioux Lookout for an exhibition tournament.
“Overall I think it went quite well,” said Brian Church, who is splitting junior coaching duties with Josh Spooner.
“With it being an exhibition tournament, the games itself ended up only being two matches instead of being a best two out of three, so it’s hard to really rank anyone based off wins and losses,” he noted.
“But it’s a great thing for the students to take part in as they got a chance to see who they will face later in the year.”
In the junior ranks, the doubles team of Jacob Jack and Joseph Onichuk were among those that were tops during the exhibition showdown, winning two games over Dryden and Sioux Lookout and tying Atikokan.
“Jacob’s played with the local club here for a while now and that helped him out quite a lot, I think,” Spooner said.
“As a whole, the junior players have a lot of raw athleticism and co-ordination, which is a great foundation to go off of as we can just teach them the basic skills,” he added.
With senior head coaches Manami Alexander and Jamie Jensen both unable to attend, Church was in charge of the senior players in Sioux Lookout and was pleased with what he saw.
“Most of the losses were only by a couple of points and there were no real blowouts,” he recalled.
“The returning players all did quite well, and it was also good to see what areas of their games that need to be worked on,” he added.
A couple of the Muskies’ top players in both divisions were unable to make the trip to Sioux Lookout due to other commitments. But the coaches are excited about what they’ll be able to bring to the table.
“Nicholas and Chandler Clugston have both moved in here from Winnipeg, and they are both highly-talented and are beating everyone that we have here, so we are hoping they can place well in junior singles,” Church said.
“On the senior side, we have a boys’ doubles team of Andre Emond and Bryson Skirten who have played mixed doubles last year and who have some nice skills,” he added.
After holding an exhibition series with Rainy River here yesterday afternoon, the badminton team now is preparing for the NorWOSSA qualifiers, which will take place next Wednesday in Atikokan.
“Seeing some of our future competition is going to mean an awful lot for the players, as it gives [them] that much more time out on the court,” Spooner reasoned.
“In regular practices, you are always going up against the same people,” echoed Church.
“But when you meet someone new, the tables are turned so it’s going to be good to have some different faces.”
The NorWOSSA playoffs are set for Wednesday, April 11 in Dryden, with the NWOSSAA finals to go Wednesday, April 18 at a still-to-be determined location.