Boys Badminton Team defeats Stuyvesant to win PSAL Championship

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Earlier this evening, the Boys Varsity Badminton Team defeated Stuyvesant High School 3-2 to win the PSAL championship. A high stakes affair for the Badminton team, it was the first time the team had won the title. In their previous history, the team had never made it through to the second round of the playoffs. 

Leading up to the finals, the Boys Varsity team had enjoyed an unprecedented regular season, coming back from last year’s modified pandemic season to earn two impressive wins against Hunter. 

However, the catalyst for the Badminton Team’s growth would come after their two defeats against Bronx Science, one of which they were narrowly edged by a score of 3-2. In describing the impact of the loss, senior captain Justin Luu said, “this loss was a big wake up call for us but it allowed us to work on making the adjustments and improvements necessary to advance in the playoffs.” 

Ultimately, the team placed second in their division, with a regular season record of 8-2. Then on the road to the finals, the team defeated New Utrecht and Franklin D Roosevelt High School in the first and second round of the playoffs respectively without dropping any games.

The players on the team push themselves each practice. If we are in the gym working on skills, or in the weight room working on strength and conditioning, the team gives it their all each and every day,” said Matthew Lemanczyk, coach of the Badminton team, while summarizing the team’s season. 

In recalling the season overall, senior captain Justin Luu said, “This season has been an incredible ride to experience so far. I don’t think anyone on the team expected this level of success considering how the previous year was shut down due to covid, but the fact that we have been able to rebound back stronger than ever has been amazing to witness. I am extremely proud of all the hard work, effort, and time that we have put in as a team during practices and games to make our dreams a reality.”

Reflecting on the team’s success this season, senior captain Wilson Chu said, “This season, we have gone way further than my expectations. I am personally really proud and grateful of everyone we have on our team. We all have come a long way and this year’s season was definitely unexpected.”

“Reaching the finals and bringing a banner back home has always been the team’s dream this entire season, and it’s thrilling to be able to make this dream come alive. I don’t think it has even hit me yet how fast this season is coming to a close, but looking back on it, being able to reach the finals this year and win the championship has been a wonderful journey,” added Justin. 

Regardless of their championship win, senior captain Spencer Zou was also quick to point out the team’s growth this season. “It has definitely been a comeback season. We lost twice against Bronx Science and it was a crushing blow as we had been undefeated before then. Despite these defeats, however, we have managed to make it to city championships without losing a single set in playoffs,” added Spencer prior to the match. 

The ‘X-factor’ for the team’s success this year is the senior leadership.  Our captains, Spencer, Wilson, and Justin set the tone for each practice and they lead by example,” said Mr. Lemanczyk.

Reflecting on the reason behind their success, Spencer said, “I think our team chemistry has definitely contributed the most to our success. Everyone is very comfortable with each other and we are a very closely knit group. Having a supportive team that you know you can trust and rely on to show up to games and practices to cheer you on is really helpful mentally and emotionally.” “They poured their blood and sweat into spending so much of their free time practicing but due to covid, they lost their opportunity to showcase their skills. The seniors are all definitely very grateful for having this opportunity and having the chance to put a banner up is simply insane to even think about. I am so grateful for this journey.”

With the season concluded, those who will remain on the team for future seasons are motivated to build on this result. “My goals are to maintain this camaraderie and to simply train more. Training isn’t just training. The fact that we are together brings us together even more. It’s not pushing people to work harder and improve. The amount of fun that we have motivates us to work harder,” said sophomore Jie Xuan Tang.

“For future members of the badminton team, I would just like to say that this team is more than just a regular sports team. We’re a family. We create and share great memories on this team and we all help each other when in need. So, commit to the team. Time goes by fast when you’re having fun,” Wilson concluded in a final message to the team.

Photo by Lauren Caiaccia