March marks the beginning of one sport’s new season on Leigh’s campus: badminton. The team is currently preparing to head off their 2016 season. This year, the team has faced some impressive changes, and is heading towards an exciting, competitive season.
The sport has grown in popularity, creating competition for spots within the squad. Over 75 people registered to play for Leigh, however, the preferred number of members ranges somewhere between 50 and 55. For the first time, the head coach, Kevin Yamaguchi, was forced to make cuts at tryouts.
However, student interest in participating in this sport is no surprise; the team’s overall performance during the last couple of seasons has shown impressive improvement and skill. During the 2014 season, Leigh Badminton won first place in B-League, and second in 2015. This consistent performance has allowed the team to advance into A league this year, a development that yields both higher standards and challenging opposition.
“I feel like it will be a good challenge, although we may struggle a lot, but overall it will help us improve,” said Heather Ho, junior.
Practices for the sport prove to be just as hard; the team has a reputation for it’s tough training and routine conditioning. A typical day involves liners, lunges, sprints, pushups, burpees, and plenty of footwork drills. Additionally, players must focus their energy on hit practice, drops, clears, and smashes must be perfected in time for match day.
“The best parts were bonding with the team and getting whooped every other game. It reminded me that I had a lot of work to do in order to make myself a better player,” said Andy Dhillon, a senior who participated on the team last year.
The 2016 Badminton season will experience new challenges and several changes within the team. The Longhorns will take on the A league and face increasing competition and excitement.