Following a rather tumultuous season, the Palo Alto High School badminton team is moving away from its mediocre spring season to the high stakes postseason.
The loss of several key seniors has led to an underwhelming 4-8 season. This is extremely disappointing after the team put up a 6-6 record in the past season.
“We lost so many good players with the Class of 2016 [graduating], so this year’s team was pretty young,” said senior and team captain Flavia Stiglich. “It wasn’t our best season but we managed to stay in the upper league as well as having some unexpected wins against Milpitas, Lynbrook and Saratoga.”
“I am really happy and excited about our performance even though we still have plenty of things to improve. [I am] also anxious because this year’s CCS is full of many great players.”
On a lighter note, three Paly badminton players have advanced to the Central Coast Section (CCS) championships. Stiglich, junior Michael Chau and sophomore Raymon Chen will all move on to represent Paly at CCS. All three had impressive and successful performances at the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) finals.
Chen’s strong showing earned him a place in the top four slots in the boys singles division, thereby qualifying him for CCS.
Team captains Stiglich and Chau also took one of the four CCS qualification spots for mixed doubles at the SCVAL finals.
Chau is pleased with his performance at the finals despite losing to Henry M. Gunn High School in the last game. He believes that he overachieved, considering his lack of extensive practice.
“I’m pretty happy because I do not train [in club badminton] anymore,” Chau said. “I have not trained since I quit about a year ago. It’s a good feeling knowing that I still can compete without [club] training.”
Stiglich was also pleased with her showing at the SCVAL finals. However, her focus remains on CCS.
“I am really happy and excited about our performance even though we still have plenty of things to improve,” Stiglich said. “[I’m] also anxious because this year’s CCS is full of many great players. Michael and I are looking to do well at CCS in order to qualify for NorCals.”
The absence of state-level badminton means that the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Regional Badminton Championships, or NorCals, is the highest level tournament a high school player can participate in. Siglich is aware that each coming game could potentially be the last of her high school career. She is appreciative of her short-lived journey on the Paly badminton team.
“I’m really grateful for the seasons last year and this year, my only seasons since I moved here my junior year,” Stiglich said. “I wouldn’t have been able to achieve any of this without the help of my teammates and especially my partner Michael.”
The three qualified players will continue their individual postseasons at CCS championships. Play started on May 13 at Independence High School.