Experienced local contingent heading to OFSAA badminton
by Randy Pascal
Shutout of the Gold medal count in both the Midget and Junior age divisions, local badminton players saved their best for when it mattered the most. With
entry to OFSAA awarded to the two finalists in all Senior groupings, SDSSAA reps claimed three of the five NOSSA titles up for grabs.
Sudbury and area schools will send a total of eight athletes to the all-Ontario championships which begin on May 12th in Aurora. Owen Kurvits
(Lasalle), Karolyne Blain/Josh Démoré (Macdonald-Cartier) and Hans Agnihotri/Garrett Duff (St Benedict) all make return trips to OFSSA,
joining first timers Laura Keast/Mathiew Dykstra (Lo-Ellen) and Gabriel Despatie (Macdonald-Cartier).
"We have more experience now - we've been to an OFSAA, we know what it's like, know what to expect" said Démoré, who teamed with long-time partner
Karolyne Blain to bounce Keast & Dykstra 21-8, 21-10 in an all-Sudbury final.
"I think we have a little more chemistry, because we've been playing together for so long," said Démoré. The Macdonald-Cartier tandem first
teamed up for Mixed Doubles competition back in Grade 9.
Still, with competition from the southern Ontario schools sure to be intense, the pairing remains realistic preparing to face teams who play together
almost year round. "We're hoping to stay in the "A" pool this year, but reasonably, maybe "B", said Démoré.
The Panthères partners will have a little over a week now to fine tune their game in anticipation of their top end opponents. "I think it's more of
the offensive game that we have to work on, just pushing the birdie and staying on offense," said Démoré.
"Good teams keep their errors low. They don't put the birdie in the net, they don't put it out much." In Men's Singles competition, Kurvits will
entertain medal hopes after stopping Despatie 21-8, 21-10 Saturday afternoon at Lasalle Secondary.
Like Kurvits, the Agnihotri/Duff pairing have garnered a berth at OFSAA for a third straight year, defeating Duncan and Nathan Phillips (Espanola)
in the Men's Doubles, 21-8, 21-15.
Japanese exchange student Chihro Katayama from West Ferris captured the Ladies Singles crown, knocking off Bridget Tancredi (St Joseph
Scollard Hall) 21-9, 21-4 while Sault Ste Marie earned bragging rights in Ladies Doubles action.
Riley Hogan and Rachel Ivey (Korah) dropped Chelsea Smith and Carissa Skalecki (Central Algoma) 21-14, 15-21, 21-14 in the
closest of the Senior finals.
Little surprise that Korah Collegiate from Sault Ste Marie continued to dominant the team awards, capturing the overall aggregate championship for a
sixth straight year, and sweeping all three age groupings as well (Midget, Junior and Senior).
Following is a recap of the Junior and Midget finals (only competitors in the Senior division are eligible to move on to OFSAA):
NOSSA Junior Badminton
Dawson Soucy (Jeunesse Nord) beat Michael Williston Kaufman (Lively)
Sophie Labelle (Northern - S Falls) beat Kiri Parfitt (Widdifield)
Kenny Harrison/Sulli Scott (Chippewa) beat Maverick Anwhatin/Conner St Michel (Espanola)
Laryssa Canduro/Miranda Carlson-Strain (St Mary's) beat Paige Eckland/Rebecca Kennedy (Korah)
Ryan Daley/Lauren Hutchings (Chippewa) beat Devin Valiquette/France Gagnon (Jeunesse Nord)
NOSSA Midget Badminton
Dylan Turgeon (St Mary's) beat Liam Hamlin (Jeunesse Nord)
Emily Groulx (Korah) beat Rénée Bigras (Hanmer)
Jeff Delange/Brandon Paquette (Manitoulin) beat Skylar Kroll/Austin Kirkwood (Korah)
Tianna Palumbo/Hilary Prowe (Korah) beat Ashlyn Low/Tiffany Sullivan (Lo-Ellen)
Kyle Kennepohl/Darion Landriault (Jeunesse Nord) beat Molly Campbell/Mack Barber (Central Algoma)