Knights, Crusaders dominate HWCAA badminton championship

A badminton player known as Suhana is making quite a name for herself in the sport at St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School.

(Photo: Gerry Graham/HWCDSB)

(Photo: Gerry Graham/HWCDSB)

Fathima Suhana defeated Vanessa Hughes of St. Mary, 2-0, to take the girls’ singles title at the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association junior high school badminton championships Wednesday (May 4). Two hundred and twenty-four players gathered at Cathedral for the annual event.

“I’ve been going by my last name for as long as I can remember,” Suhana said. “I thought my first name didn’t suit me.”

Suhana, who finished third at the 2015 HWCAA junior championships, said her improved clears have been the key to her success. Said More coach Kyle Berdan: “Suhana is powerful. She can clear just as well as any guy. And she really takes advantage of her opponents’ weaknesses.”

The boys’ singles crown also went to a St. Thomas More Knight – Ryan Wallace topped Oliver Hunt of Bishop Ryan, 2-0.

“We were hoping Ryan would defend his title and he pulled through in stunning fashion,” the Knights coach said. “Ryan works hard. He moves very quickly around the court and he has very good drop shots.”

Wallace and Suhana, incidentally, combined at McMaster University recently to win the C Division mixed doubles category of the Hamilton and District badminton association championships. In addition, Wallace took top honours in men’s C Division singles. And if that wasn’t enough, he teamed up with his father, Raj, to finish first in men’s C doubles. That competition began in 1930 and is the second oldest of its kind in Ontario.

“Ryan is on quite a roll,” Berdan said.

Wallace was generally pleased about his performance at this year’s Hamilton Catholic high school finals.

“I played better than I did last year,” he said. “I’ve improved.”

While More swept the two singles divisions, the St. Mary Crusaders were even more dominant in doubles. En route to winning the overall points title (defending champion More was second, Bishop Ryan third) St. Mary athletes placed first in boys’ doubles, girls’ doubles and mixed doubles.

(Photo: Gerry Graham/HWCDSB)

(Photo: Gerry Graham/HWCDSB)

“We’re excited about that,” St. Mary coach Ming Chong said of his Crusaders. “It’s a neat group of kids, who like each other and come out regularly to practice.”

The St. Mary girls’ sister pairing of Jaiya and Meira Morphet edged Jamie Mataseje and Julia DiFederico of Bishop Tonnos, 2-1, in the final. “I think they (the Morphets) had doubts in themselves,” Chong said. “Every match they played they lost the first one but had the resolve to come back and win.”

The boys’ doubles crown went to Ryan Enright and Daniel Kim, 2-0 winners over Evan Winer and Derek Raposo of the Bishop Ryan Celtics.

In mixed doubles, Mitch Gordon and Rosie O’Sullivan of St. Mary nipped More’s Vanessa Su and Josh Sebastian, 2-1.

The Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations badminton finale for senior players takes place May 5-7 in North Bay.

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