The spring season brings back many sports at AT, one of them being badminton. The team had its first meeting, as well as their first practice, already starting out the season.
It doesn’t take long to see that the interest in badminton is high among students. The turnout to the first practice was high, with students seemingly enthusiastic and ready to get out on the court.
Coach Eric Norberg shares the excitement, which he expressed when talking about the team’s return to a regular schedule.
“It’s wonderful to be back in the building. You know, we missed a full season of badminton and then last year we came back and it got bumped into the winter sports.
“To be back to our normal spring season and having a big group of players wanting to come out and play is just wonderful to see and I’m really excited for it,” said Norberg.
Similarly to other sports, badminton has seen a decrease in its players due to the pandemic. That did not stop the team from making a notable comeback.
“Last year we didn’t get a lot of girls to come out, partly because it got moved and partly because of still the fear of the pandemic and everything out there. This year I was kind of worried because some of the other sports I coach were also lower in numbers, but I don’t have to worry about that in this sport,” shared Norberg.
Senior captain Alicia Lloveras, who has been on the team since freshman year, spoke out about her thoughts on returning to badminton and the way it looked her first year, “It’s really fun to be back.
“I really enjoy it and I’m excited for what the new season brings. I hope to make it to state again and then also make it to conference too.”
Similarly to Lloveras, senior Emma Walis is also working towards making it to the state competition.
“It feels great to be back on the courts! Our season was cut short my sophomore year, however, we did have a season my junior year. Nonetheless, I am excited and looking forward to what this season will bring,” shared Walis.
“This season I hope to pour everything I have onto the courts and to enjoy my last year playing. While I have a small goal to make it to state this year, my larger hope is that AT can finish this season strongly. I want us to look back knowing we worked the hardest we could,” she continued.
Norberg also mentioned the goal of having some players go to state. “I’ve got a couple of girls that I think can make it to state, which would be a great goal for them.
“Most importantly, we want to make sure that we keep everyone safe and healthy, and that we have a fun year,” he stated.
The team still has a long way to go, as they just started their practice. That, however, only further motivates them to work hard on improving their skills before their first competitions.
“I think that given the last couple of years and the fact that we didn’t have a season the one year, there’s always an opportunity to learn, grow, and get better. That’s what I’m hoping to do for them this year,” expressed Norberg.
Over the last couple of years, badminton was coached by Norberg and Jeffery Nellesen. This year, the team welcomes a new coach Shannon Giertz.
“Mrs. Giertz is a gym teacher, so she’s familiar with badminton already. She’s familiar with a lot of the girls, she has seen them, so it’s going to be a smooth transition to get her caught up to what we’re doing,” commented Norberg.
Another addition to the team is coach Katie Inzinga, who will temporarily help out the team and take coach Nellesen’s place until his return.
Although the team has just returned to their daily practices, the interest of students combined with their motivation and enthusiasm has already made a significant step towards the team’s success. With some guidance from the coaches, the team has a great chance of going far in their competitions.