Gaels dominate senior badminton

Cathedral has found the ‘Huynh’-ing formula in badminton.

The Gaels, with Kevin Huynh as part of the gold-medal-winning men’s doubles pairing, captured their fifth straight Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association senior team badminton championship on Wednesday (April 10). The tournament involved about 210 players from seven schools and was held at the F.H. Sherman Recreation and Learning Centre.

St. Thomas More was second and Cardinal Newman came third.

Nick Hill, of St. Mary, was defeated by Cathedral’s Andrew Tran. Hill moves on to the GHAC championship as runner up.
(Photo: Ming Chong)

The top two in each category advance to next Thursday’s Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference championships at Burlington’s Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School.

It was actually an all-Cathedral final in both the mixed doubles and men’s doubles events. In addition, the men’s singles gold medal went to Andrew Tran of Cathedral, who defeated Nick Hill of St. Mary, 21-19, 21-17.

“All the people who play for us are committed,” said Tran, 18, who finished second in singles last year at the city finals and hopes to play for Mohawk College in September. “We generally don’t miss practice. I hear other schools aren’t as focused. They stroll in when they want. We come in early and set up the net as quick as we can. And we usually stay after practice. The coaches allow us to have the time and motivate us.”

Huynh combined with Jordan Nguyen to defeat their Cathedral teammates Pawel Jedrzejewski and Rey Omar Mina in the men’s doubles final. The other Gaels-only championship battle went to by Peter Diep and Tina Tran over Ira Bugtai and Brent Lukasic in mixed doubles.

It was an all-Cathedral final in both the mixed doubles and men’s doubles events. (Photo: Ming Chong)

“Badminton is pretty popular at our school,” said 18-year-old Huynh, who plans to continue playing the sport when he attends either Mohawk or McMaster University in the fall. “We’re determined to win and we work hard.

“We have a lot of talented young players. Especially this year, I think our juniors will do great (at) the city junior championships on Wednesday, May 8.”

Huynh and Nguyen prevailed 21-8, 21-10 in the final.

Tran, who captured his first-ever gold medal at a HWCAA final, is well behind his cousin Tina in terms of high school badminton medals. Andrea McCabe, Cathedral co-instructional head and tournament convener, said: “Tina has represented GHAC at OFSAA for three years in a row. She went in her Grade 10 and 11 years in mixed doubles and last year she went in singles.”

The Cathedral coaches are Tom Campanella, Jeff Chafe and Fabrizio Filice.

In other action, the women’s singles final went to Tina Thomas of St. Jean de Brebeuf. She defeated Alisha Donnelly of St. Mary, 21-10, 21-7. It was the third straight HWCAA singles gold medal for Thomas, a Grade 11 student.

“This is my main sport,” said Thomas, who came to Canada from India at the age of 5. “It’s very important to me. I practice 8-12 hours a week.”

Thomas says she plays badminton at two clubs. She used to just train at the Kairali Sports Club in Hamilton but two months ago she began to get some private instruction at Burlington’s Cedar Springs Advanced Badminton Club.

“They have improved my game a lot,” Thomas said of the specialized training outside of high school. “I want to see how far I can go with my potential. I know I’m a little late in the game. There’s nationally-ranked players who are 13.”

The other event saw Daniella Balaz and Meagan Miott of Cardinal Newman top Keana Ballitoc and Lorraine Lopez of St .Thomas More for the women’s doubles crown.

McCabe says there’s “sportmanlike nature” and decorum to badminton. As an example, midway through Wednesday’s tournament, McCabe said: “We have an official here. If we have a problem we can call him over. But we’ve run over 150 matches so far and we haven’t had to call the official once. That really speaks to the nature of the sport and the type of kid who plays.”

The official on hand was Sanford Corcoran, a regional umpire for Badminton Ontario. He says badminton volunteers are needed for the Pan-Am Games of 2015 which will be held in Markham. “We’re looking for people who would like to be trained to be line judges,” Corcoran said. “We need about 300 people.”

Candidates must first pass a specific course and be available to work at a preliminary tournament in 2014. Corcoran can be reached at


Men’s Singles

1. Andrew Tran – Cathedral
2. Nick Hill – St. Mary
3. Roy Miciano – St. Thomas More
4. Nick Favero – Cardinal Newman

Men’s Doubles

1. Kevin Huynh/Jordan Nguyen – Cathedral
2. Pawel Jedrzejewski/ Rey Omar Mina – Cathedral
3. Nicholas Chong/Michael Harris – St. Mary
4. Joe Misale/Ryan Seichter, Bishop Tonnos

Women’s Doubles

1. Daniella Balaz/Meagan Miotto – Cardinal Newman
2. Keana Ballitoc/Lorraine Lopez – St. Thomas More
3. Karen Wong/Connie Wong – Cathedral
4. Megan Smith/Julia Cuciani – Cardinal Newman

Women’s Singles

1. Tina Thomas – St. Jean de Brebeuf
2. Alisha Donnelly — St. Mary
3. Camila Jorquera – Bishop Tonnos
4. Clare McMullen – St. Thomas More

Mixed Doubles

1. Peter Diep/Tina Tran – Cathedral
2. Ira Bugtai/Brent Lukasic – Cathedral
3. Silvia Tran/Arun Kudiyote – St. Thomas More
4. Brittany Clavio/Avery Clavio, Cardinal Newman