High school sports took a big hit courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the IE Weldon Secondary School badminton teams have rallied for a number of smashing successes at recent tournaments.
In April, the senior team traveled to Crestwood Secondary School in Peterborough to compete in the Kawartha Championship Tournament. Students, Kira Janssen and Julia Cossarin won all of their women’s doubles matches in a dominating fashion to continue their undefeated season and captured their third straight first-place finish.
Both of them advanced to the Central Ontario Secondary Schools Association (COSSA) Championship Tournament, which was held in Brighton at the East Northumberland Secondary School.
At COSSA, Janssen and Cossarin went undefeated again, winning all three games in convincing fashion to capture the gold medal, which advanced them to the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association (OFSAA) Championship in Pain Court, May 5 to 7.
At OFSAA, the team entered the women’s doubles tournament with the top 40 schools in all of Ontario.
“In their first match, they faced Innisdale, a team from Barrie and were able to come away with a decisive victory. In their next match of the day, the girls had to play a very tough opponent from Waterloo Collegiate Institute, ”said coach Matt Van Kessel.
Janssen and Cossarin were able to battle back and win two close sets advancing them to the quarter finals.
The team’s next two games came against experienced club badminton players from North York and Burlington.
“Unfortunately, the girls were defeated in two close matches,” said Van Kessel noting finishing seventh in all of Ontario is still something the teens should be “extremely proud of”
The junior team also competed in their own Kawartha tournament in Haliburton. Students, Hannah Sharp and Tate Smith have continued to improve each week, finishing in second place in the women’s doubles division.
Ryan Scott and Nicholas Connell had a difficult road in the men’s doubles division but ended the tournament with a fourth place finish. Gabriel Tesic had multiple win-or-go-home matches throughout the day in the men’s singles division and finished the day in fourth place.
All three teams were proud to learn their school was the only one to have all five of their players advance to COSSA.
Scott and Connell entered the COSSA tournament as definitive underdogs, however they were able to win all three games, playing their best badminton of the season to claim COSSA gold. Sharp and Smith battled hard and ended the tournament in fourth place. Tesic had an incredibly hard draw, as he had to play the players who claimed COSSA gold and silver in his first two matches but was able to end the tournament in seventh place.