Falcons News · Badminton returns to De Anza League

March 28, 2019 — by Connie Liang and Sherrie Shen

Head Coach: John Li

2017-2018 record: 12-0

2017-2018 recap: Despite breezing through all conference games in the lower El Camino division, the Falcons failed to send any players to CCS. This year, the team will do battle with the upper De Anza division.

Key Additions: Freshmen Adrian Mar and Victoria Tso

Key Matchups: Milpitas, Palo Alto

Star Players: seniors Nathan Luk and Nicholas Zhang, junior Alvin Ren, sophomore Ryan Hsiao, freshman Adrian Mar

Key Losses: No. 1 boys’ singles Stephen Ding, No. 1 girls’ doubles Mana Shimokawa, No. 1 mixed doubles Cameron Chow

League: De Anza Division

Prognosis: Following the graduation of many key players in the Class of 2018, the team will be forced to fill its top positions with less experienced players. Returners and new talent from the Class of 2023 will prove vital to the team’s success. Under the guidance of new coach John Li, the Falcons look to rebuild their position in the upper division.

With longtime head coach Charley Situ leaving to coach at Mountain View High School, the team found a new head coach in Li, who once played badminton semi-competitively in Taiwan, but now plays recreationally. Assistant coach Calvin Blocker will return to help out during practices and open gyms.

Although Li does not have much experience coaching, his experience as a competitive player allows him to provide the team with valuable insights. He plans on implementing a more rigorous training program by first having all players start in singles to train their strength, stamina and footwork.

Senior Nathan Luk, a returning captain, has been helping Li become more integrated with the team and is also working on scheduling preseason scrimmages. He cites the large skill difference between Division 1 and Division 2 levels of play as a likely cause of “growing pains” for many of the underclassmen, who are not as accustomed to playing top-level opponents.

However, Luk remains hopeful as the nationally ranked freshman Adrian Mar and other newcomers will help patch the holes in the lineup created when Ding and others graduated last spring.

“With internal improvement bolstered by incoming talent, I have full confidence in the ability of our team to get their footing and succeed in the upper division,” Luk said.

Tryouts started Feb. 1 and the Falcons’ first conference game will be against the reigning De Anza League champions, Monta Vista, on March 5.