Badminton Back & Bussin’

The boys’ varsity badminton team has shown tremendous success through several seasons and continues to stomp out their competition.

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By Yeeun Choi

The Stuyvesant boys’ varsity badminton team continues to strive. With a dominant 13-0 season last year, the team showed they were a force to be reckoned with. They earned a well-deserved city championship title by defeating rival Townsend Harris 4-1 in the finals, revenge against the team that had defeated Stuyvesant the year prior.

The badminton team, however, faced an obstacle during their current 2023-2024 season. “The biggest change from last year was Lukas [Chang] graduating. He was the best player in the entire league, and his skills are sorely missed,” junior and first doubles player Logan Hau said. With the loss of last year’s co-captains, Giridhar Bonu and Lukas Chang, both fundamentally advanced badminton players, the team expected to experience a setback. Yet this was not the case, as the group demonstrated their resilience. “[We are] accepting this and focusing on ourselves,” Hau said. The team passed this obstacle with flying colors and is again leading its division, now undefeated 8-0. Much like last season, the Stuyvesant team has shut out each of their games 5-0, with forfeit matches from McKinney School of Arts. The new 22-player roster, including two new freshmen, continues to show unrivaled skill on the court, with some new names taking up starting spots.

A big reason for the team’s success is their coach, Marvin Autry. Having coached numerous PSAL sports in the past years, including boys’ varsity badminton, gymnastics, soccer, tennis, and girls’ varsity gymnastics and soccer, his efforts in badminton stand out: the team has gone undefeated in the regular season for the past three seasons. This is a phenomenal feat, as badminton is incredibly fast-paced, requiring a lot from players. Players must move quickly to react to the shuttlecock’s unpredictable trajectory. Additionally, the game is complicated by various strokes such as smashes, clears, drops, and drives, requiring precise timing and control of the racket and hand-to-eye coordination with the shuttlecock. Therefore, players often need to understand and implement effective tactics, like shot placement, court coverage, and exploiting opponents’ weaknesses, when playing the game. This can be very challenging and a lot to handle for newcomers, but many players on the team credit the coach’s motivational qualities. “Coach Autry has made the complicated game of badminton so simple to me in such little time. Though he doesn’t teach much, when he does, it’s in a paced way that is patient,” junior Nicholas Foh said.

Another thing that puts the team on top compared to other groups is that the Stuyvesant varsity badminton team does not have to commute to practices like others. The team instead has practices inside the school in the third-floor gym. These practice schedules are generally scrambled as the gym is shared with junior varsity volleyball, affecting the timings of the badminton practices. However, even if scheduled practices are inconsistent with timings, the team values the intensity of practices and makes every bit of time they have valuable, putting all their effort into their practices, even if they are from 3:45 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., or from 3:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., which shows from their undefeated record. The team also emphasizes the profound values of communication and bonding now more than ever. “In my first year, there was a big disconnect between underclassmen and upperclassmen because there wasn’t any communication. However, that drastically changed last year as the team connected more,” junior and first doubles player Ethan Sie said. “Our division isn’t as challenging as it used to be, but we’re still looking forward to playing in our matches.” This, however, by no means undermines the outstanding achievements of the team: their undefeated records and city championship titles. 

The boys’ varsity badminton team has shown tremendous success through several seasons and continues to stomp out their competition. Being rivals for city championships for the past three years and making it to the finals for each respective year, the team’s main goal for this season is to win. “[We plan to] bring home the dub in city championships again, like last year,” senior and captain Charles Luo said. If done before, it can undoubtedly be done once more, especially with the changes in the team dynamics. The potential for this team continues to grow, shining toward even more accomplishments in the process.