Muskie ‘birders’ look to next year

While the Muskies’ OFSAA badminton hopes were dashed over the weekend, Rainy River High School had a semi-finalist to cheer for at the provincial tournament in Waterloo.
The Muskie men’s doubles team of Jamie Jensen and Tim Desjardins dropped three of their four matches—their lone win coming via a forfeit by the other squad.
“We started off pretty rough, we had the first [match] of the day,” Jensen said. “[The] second [match] was close and I thought we could’ve won that, but things didn’t go our way.”
“I think we can play 10 times more than what we did,” Desjardins said.
The Muskie duo opened action last Thursday with a 15-1, 15-7 loss to Michael Kosziwka and Sandford Mick of the Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference.
Then later Thursday, they lost their Flight ‘B’ match to Ben Hoornweg and Greg Prinzen, representing the Central Ontario Secondary Schools Association, in close 15-11 and 15-12 sets.
On Friday morning, Jensen and Desjardins were given a win against John Ochangco and Jordan Catibog of the Toronto District College Athletic Association, who showed up late for the match.
They then lost in a pair of 15-8 sets to Matthew Wainwright and Jon Ramkumar of the Northeastern Ontario Athletic Association—a team that eventually advanced to the ‘C’ final before losing.
Head coach Manami Alexander said OFSAA was an eye-opener for the Muskie duo.
“They haven’t seen high-level players, like national-level players,” Alexander noted. “They just couldn’t believe how far those players move, how smoothly they rotate for doubles rotation.
“That kind of thing woke them up.”
“We saw a totally different level of play and different styles,” Jensen agreed. “You’re just amazed at what you see.”
Still, the boys are staying positive—taking the tournament as a learning experience.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing how we do next year, seeing how we progressed from this year,” Jensen enthused.
“Our team learned a lot from this tournament. They know what they have to work on,” Alexander said, adding that they will spend time during the off-season working on their footwork and endurance.
“With another year of experience, another year of playing together, another year of maturity . . . hopefully they’ll be better next year,” echoed Fort High athletic director John Gibson.
In related news, the Rainy River Owls’ duo of Hillary Hansen and Chantel Heyens took fourth placed in the ‘C’ bracket of the women’s doubles division.
It was the team’s second trip to the tournament, with coach Donnie Gall telling the Rainy River Record “that experience paid off in this tourney.”
The finish was the highest by any RRHS athlete in badminton.
Kristin Moen and Molly Bartlett, Rainy River’s other women’s doubles team competing at OFSAA, lost their first two matches before winning their first one in Flight ‘C.’
But then they were ousted by the team that ended up finishing second in the ‘C.’
The school’s third team at OFSAA, a mixed doubles squad made up of Nick Ashworth and Carly Nordin, went 0-3 in the tournament.