Watson Lake players dominate championships

Good coaching and facilities will only get you so far, say Watson Lake junior badminton players. Dedication and practice are equally important, they said.

Good coaching and facilities will only get you so far, say Watson Lake junior badminton players.

Dedication and practice are equally important, they said.

“Hard work and training,” said Watson Lake’s Jason Carlson, 16, when asked for the source of his success. “We all come to the gym and work out together—it’s a team thing.

“We usually do more training right before a big tournament, but we’re always training at least twice a week, if not more.”

Only four Watson Lakers were among the more than 80 players competing in the Yukon Junior Badminton Championships at Porter Creek Secondary over the weekend.

But their names could be found atop many of the results.

Carlson’s weekend could not have gone better, finishing first in the under-19 boys’ singles and doubles, as well as in the mixed doubles.

For the singles title, Carlson produced a win over Richard Fulop of Whitehorse, a player who’s had his number in the past.

“He’s a very strong player that I’ve never been able to beat in a tournament,” said Carlson. “This time I finally got him. That’s the one that stands out the most.”

Watson Lake’s Michaela Rotondi, 13, playing up an age group in the under-16, took the girls’ singles and doubles titles. Partnered with Whitehorse’s Logan Godin, Rotondi finished second in the mixed.

“It was most intense and fun,” said Rotondi, of the mixed final. “It was the closest.”

In fact, Watson Lake players were encouraged not to play together on doubles and mixed teams, to even the field.

“We don’t have them play together, we have them play with some of the other kids to spread the talent around and to encourage other players,” said Randy Carlson, junior coach and vice-president of the Yukon Badminton Association. “If we go and play Outside in a major tournament, then we use our strongest pairings.”

Rotondi’s sister Abbie, 16, also grabbed some top spots, taking second in the under-19 girls’ singles, first in the doubles and second in the mixed.

Jason’s sister Vanessa, 14, won the under-19 singles and ended in third for the doubles.

Vanessa’s success comes on the heels of an even bigger accomplishment. She and nine other Yukoners competed in the Douglas Junior B Tournament in New Westminster, BC, last month, where she won the girls’ under-16 singles division.

The only other Yukoner to medal in New Westminster was Francis Belanger, of the Whitehorse Youth Badminton Club, who picked up a bronze in the under-14 mixed doubles.

“He picked up a partner from Vancouver,” said Whitehorse Youth Badminton Club director Sandeep Sharma. “He was meant to be a stand-by.”

Over the weekend, Belanger also achieved a second-place finish in the under-14 boys’ singles.

“It was close,” said Belanger of his loss in the finals against Khang Pham, also of Whitehorse. “I had a bad day, but it was fun.”

This weekend, adults can take a few whacks at the birdie in the Fun Tournament being held at Takhini Elementary on Saturday. The tournament was originally intended for adults, but members of the Whitehorse Youth Badminton Club are also being included.

More information can be found at www.whitehorsebc.com.

Results

Under 12

Girls Singles

1st Jacy Sam (Whitehorse)

2nd Aline Halliday

(Whitehorse)

3rd Sarah Cardinal

(Whitehorse)

Boys Singles

1st Benjamin Grundmanis

(Whitehorse)

2nd Etienne Geoffroy-Gagnon

(Whitehorse)

3rd Trygg Jensen (Whitehorse)

Under 14

Girls Singles

1st Sara Burke-Forsyth

(Whitehorse)

2nd Megan Andison

(Whitehorse)

3rd Chanel Cain (Whitehorse)

Boys Singles

1st Khang Pham (Whitehorse)

2nd Francis Belanger

(Whitehorse)

3rd Ryley Andrew (Whitehorse)

Boys Doubles

1st Shawn Kitchen

(Whitehorse)

Khang Pham (Whitehorse)

2nd Trygg Jensen (Whitehorse)

Joe Wallingham (Whitehorse)

3rd Mike Wintemute

(Whitehorse)

Chris Anderson (Whitehorse)

Under 16

Girls Singles

1st Michaela Rotondi

(Watson Lake)

2nd Tayler Vallevand

(Whitehorse)

3rd Jessica Guest (Whitehorse)

Boys Singles

1st Logan Godin (Whitehorse)

2nd Jerome Belanger

(Whitehorse)

3rd Andrew Taylor

(Dawson City)

Girls Doubles

1st Michaela Rotondi

(Watson Lake)

Tayler Vallevand (Whitehorse)

2nd Jessica Guest (Whitehorse)

Megan Andison (Whitehorse)

3rd Aline Halliday

(Whitehorse)

Madeleine Carr-Cannings

(Whitehorse)

Boys Doubles

1st Raymond Cassidy

(Dawson City)

Andrew Taylor (Dawson City)

2nd Justin Dragoman

(Dawson City)

Casey Parker (Dawson City)

3rd David Stephens

(Whitehorse)

Robbie Borud (Whitehorse)

Mixed Doubles

1st Vanessa Carlson

(Watson Lake)

Casey Parker (Dawson City)

2nd Michaela Rotondi

(Watson Lake)

Logan Godin (Whitehorse)

3rd Stephanie Dragoman

(Dawson City)

Justin Dragoman

(Dawson City)

Under 19

Girls Singles

1st Vanessa Carlson

(Watson Lake)

2nd Abbie Rotondi

(Watson Lake)

3rd Leanne Gordon

(Whitehorse)

Boys Singles

1st Jason Carlson

(Watson Lake)

2nd Richard Fulop

(Whitehorse)

3rd Ryan Dragoman

(Dawson City)

Girls Doubles

1st Abbie Rotondi

(Watson Lake)

Jasmine Gordon (Whitehorse)

2nd Leanne Gordon

(Whitehorse)

Sarina Sydney (Whitehorse)

3rd Vanessa Carlson

(Watson Lake)

Julia Spriggs (Dawson City)

Boys Doubles

1st Jason Carlson

(Watson Lake)

Jerome Belanger (Whitehorse)

2nd Denis Godin (Whitehorse)

Logan Godin (Whitehorse)

3rd Jamie Milligan

(Whitehorse)

Ryan Lane (Whitehorse)

Mixed Doubles

1st Tayler Vallevand

(Whitehorse)

Jason Carlson (Watson Lake)

2nd Abbie Rotondi

(Watson Lake)

Andrew Taylor (Dawson City)

3rd Jasmine Gordon

(Whitehorse)

Jerome Belanger (Whitehorse)

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com