Randy Angel

Mira Costa badminton team sends four players to CIF SoCal Regionals

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Mira Costa junior Eric Mei is the badminton team’s No. 1 boys singles player and co-captain for the Mustangs. Photo by Ray Vidal

by Randy Angel

Following a tough semifinal loss in team competition, Mira Costa’s badminton squad sent nine players to the CIF Individual tournament played Tuesday and Wednesday.

Last week’s loss to powerhouse Arcadia in team competition was an improvement for the Mustangs despite the 14-7 loss.

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Arcadia fell to Diamond Bar in the championship match.

“This was a huge improvement from earlier in the season where the score was 3-18 against Arcadia,” Mira Costa head coach McKenna Wilson said. “Mira Costa was ranked No. 3 and Arcadia ranked No. 2 in the Open Division. The way matches work is you win best out of 21 matches and if you win 11 or more you win the match. Many of the games on Wednesday went to three which shows its was a tough match.”

Mira Costa badminton teams won CIF-SS Team Championships in 1976, 1978, and 1980.

For the past five years (2013-2017), they have been consistently ranked in the top 3 of CIF Southern Section.

There are 35 players on the team (17 on Varsity, 18 on JV).  Varsity Captains for Mira Costa are senior Lulu Yu and junior Eric Mei while JV Captains were sophomore Jack Kirby and senior Genevieve Paraszczuk.

Advancing to the CIF Individual tournament were Mustangs who qualified by placing twice or more during a tournament throughout the season.

They included Moose Cohn and Tiger Hao (Boys Doubles, currently ranked No. 2), Mei (Boys Singles, currently ranked No. 2), Yu and Vivian Liu (both ranked in the top 5 in Girls Singles), Andy Liu and Sammy Liu (Boys Doubles) along with Sophia Zhang and Julia Foster (Girls Doubles).

The team of Cohn/Hao won the Boys Doubles tournament defeating Arcadia’s Kevin Yoo/Winston Tang at the Individual Badminton Champions and will compete in Saturday’s CIF SoCal Regional Championships at Arcadia High School.

Mira Costa will also send Mei who will compete in the Boys Singles and Vivian Lee, who will represent the Mustangs in Girls Singles competition.

Wilson has been head coach of the Mira Costa Badminton team for the past three years. Her father, Rocky Wilson, coached and started the team at Mira Costa when McKenna was in high school from 2002-06.  

After McKenna had graduated from college, she helped as an assistant coach for the Mustangs. “Once David, the head coach at the time, retired the Badminton Booster club asked me to step in,” McKenna said. “Since I am not a teacher I was a little hesitant. I have been playing badminton since I was 6 years old and I always enjoyed the fast pace and strategy behind the sport.

“To me Badminton is a unique sport because you don’t have to be the fastest or strongest player on the court, you just have to be the smartest. I am constantly saying to my players that placement of the bird is everything and reading your opponents. My senior players like Moose, Tiger, and Lulu can continuously place the bird in the right spot and anticipate their opponents’ next move. Also, badminton is the only sport where girls and boys competitively compete together on a mixed team, which develops social skills and respect for equality.”

The CIF SoCal Regional Championships take place Saturday at Arcadia High School.

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