BY ALISON CHURCH
On March 10th, Benicia High School’s badminton team traveled for the first time to compete against Clayton Valley High School, an old team rival. This time with more confidence, Benicia stepped into the unfamiliar setting with a positive attitude and a drive to win. In the end, this attitude paid off; Benicia won all of their games.
Perhaps the most fast paced and intense game of the day was varsity players Benji Ryujin and Aidan Sherry’s doubles match. Everyone in the stands held their breath as the teams competed for the win. Benji Ryujin made sure to smash aggressively enough so that the other team would find it nearly impossible to return his hits. Ryujin and Sherry’s communication and smooth rotations is a large reason why they won both of their matches with a final score of 21-13 and 21-19. Another easy win for Benicia was Sarina Regis’ singles match. With the incredible ability to return nearly any hit and finish each rally efficiently and with precision, Regis brought her all and won a baffling 21-1 in both rounds.
Varsity players Ashley Ko and Alana Doi won their game as well, scoring 21-8 and 21-5. In an interview with the Benicia Paw, Ko reports that her favorite part of the game was being able to watch her friends play and beat their opponents. Her biggest challenge to overcome was getting used to their lines: “somehow, their out lines are worse than ours and less even.” She reports learning that “the other team lacked communication and adaptability, which is essential in a good game. If your partner isn’t a good fit for you, there’s no way you’ll both have a good time.” When asked what she thinks the team can improve on, she said: “I think the team can improve just through practice. I think our team lacks some technical skill but it’s only the beginning of the season and we have lots of new people this year so I’m really looking forward to expanding on the potential we have.”
JV player Brooklyn Boutain also won her doubles match, with a final score of 21-10 and 21-9. Just like Ko, her favorite part was “seeing everyone cheer for each other and also winning their matches.” According to Boutain, she struggled most with “not changing the pace of the game.” In order to overcome this, she’s learned to “slow the game down and add in more drops” in order to throw her competition off guard. She believes that the team needs to “prioritize improving their rotations.” With this first successful win, the Benicia Badminton team will only go up from here.