Badminton provincial playoffs get underway

Steven Mah
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The badminton provincial playoffs got into full swing over the weekend with Sectionals in Swift Current. The host Comp. Ardens and Colts were the top entry on their home court as they won three of the five divisions and claimed eight of the 18 available spots at Districts next weekend.

Gull Lake and Ponteix both earned three spots at Districts and accounted for the other two division champions. Herbert qualified for four spots at Districts and Hodgeville grabbed the final two spots.

Gull Lake's Ian Fiddler took top spot in boys singles. He finished first in Pool A with a 3-1 record. He took on Cole from Swift Current in the semi-final and advanced with 21-18, 21-15 wins. Fiddler was even more dominant in the championship final when he defeated Swift Current's Brandon Niefer in straight sets (21-13, 21-15) to win the tournament.

"I think I played good," said Fiddler after the tournament. "It is handy when you hit all your shots. It doesn't always happen that way, but it felt good today."

Fiddler made it to Districts last year and is looking to advance even further this season.

"I think if I am at the top of my game I can probably move on but there is no way to tell for sure. I will just go out there and give it my best."

The grade 11 student said he has some work to do to keep his season alive at Districts.

"I guess I am just working on painting the line if I can and getting the other guy moving more than normal. It worked good today I guess."

The girls doubles final pitted Ponteix Predators teammates against one another. Tamara Goffinet and Karen Mendoza defeated their schoolmates 21-15 and 21-16 to win the tournament. They had placed first in their pool with a 4-0 record and then defeated Swift Current in the semi-final in three sets (20-22, 21-12, 21-10).

Swift Current's Kimiko Espiritu had a dominating performance for the Ardens in girls singles. She won all five of her matches and allowed more than nine points only twice in 10 games. Espiritu defeated a Hodgeville opponent in the semi-final (21-6, 21-7) and then knocked off a Herbert challenger in the championship match (21-7, 21-3).

Swift Current's Darby Crozier and Evan Laturnus were nearly as dominant in boys doubles. The veteran tandem finished unbeaten in six matches without dropping a set and never allowed more than 17 points. They defeated Herbert in the semi-final (21-6, 21-12) and then got past another Colts team in the final (21-17, 21-14).

The mixed doubles final was also an all-Swift Current affair with Shelby Warren and Dylan Mortensen winning (21-14, 21-15). They had beaten Gull Lake in the semi-final (21-8, 21-14) after winning their pool with a 3-0 record in the round robin.

"I thought they played so well today," said Swift Current coach Janna Walker. "Over the entire season we have been seeing improvement from weekend to weekend. Lots of them had some of their best games today, so they did very well today."

The Comp. will also host the District tournament on April 25, where the top two finishers will move on to Regionals in Moose Jaw.

"Districts is going to be tough. We have a very talented district in terms of badminton. We have lots of good teams coming out of the other two sections. We are going to be in tough there, but if we play the way that we did here I think we have a really good chance of moving a few teams on to Regionals," said Walker.

Organizations: SHSAA, SWAC, SCCHS

Geographic location: Swift Current, Gull Lake, Moose Jaw Hodgeville

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