Badminton CIF Victory


Tanya Lee, Student Life Editor

The AHS Badminton team landed a historic win at the Open Division CIF Championship on May 22. The team defeated 8-time defending Champion Diamond Bar 13-8 to win its first-ever CIF title. While this is already no easy feat, it’s made even more impressive when one considers the conditions under which the team had to train.

“From September through March we conditioned 3 days a week, exclusively online through Google Meet,” said Coach Mike Stiles. “Beginning in January, all players were required to wear their masks during this conditioning even though they were participating in the conditioning from the safety of their own homes. We did this to prepare them for wearing masks during play once our season started.”

Despite the challenges of training remotely, the team continued to push itself, and it paid off.

“We would not let the team believe that there would not be a season, and we kept conditioning even during some of the worst months of the pandemic. When the season finally did start, we were able to hit the ground running. Many other programs were not able to do so,” said Coach Stiles.

“We never gave up hope that we would play this year. We unfortunately didn’t finish our season last year in which we also hoped to win the championship. But thanks to our coaches and the team morale we kept up our bond throughout the fall and winter,” said Co-Captain junior Kathy Liu.

Another critical part of being able to push through the challenges was good team morale.

“This team believed in its ability to win the title and worked together towards that objective. Although badminton is, at its core, an individual sport, having those individuals buy into the team concept with the collective belief that they could win the title was a difference-maker,” said Coach Stiles.

“I’m super proud of how far everyone has come and how as a team we continue to cheer each other on!” Kathy added.

A shared sentiment seemed to be the overall strength of the team.

“This year we had a lot of experienced players in all events, which made our roster very deep in all events,” said junior Andrea Lou.

“Though we’ve always had a strong team compared to most other schools, our players this year allowed our team to be the strongest it’s ever been. We had very little weaknesses across all the events,” said senior Melody Yang.

After such a challenging year, the team’s victory is truly an achievement.

“It’s like we finally got to the light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve faced off with Diamond Bar in 3 CIF finals and finally, we were able to snag the win. So in a way, this win isn’t just for this year’s team through these unprecedented times, but for all the alumni last year who weren’t able to have a full season,” Kathy stated.

“I’d like to thank the coaches, Coach Stiles, Derrick, and James, as well as the managers and my teammates for all of their support. This win wouldn’t have been possible without all of them, and I’m so grateful for the encouragement and all the work they do. It feels really great to be able to take home a CIF title before graduating!” Melody said.

“Now that we have won our first title, our objective entering next season will be to hold onto it for years to come,” added Coach Stiles.

Hopefully, the badminton team will be able to do just that! Congratulations again on the win, and best of luck in future years!


Photo courtesy of Arcadia High School