Titans Claim First-Ever Junior Badminton Title

Titans Claim First-Ever Junior Badminton Title
Posted on 05/17/2024

By Larry Moko

The Bishop Tonnos Titans are the champions of junior high school badminton and the public address announcer couldn’t have been more pleased.

Competing at the two-day Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic tournament this week, the Tonnos entry came out on top in the team standings for the first time in the school’s 20-year history.

And taking the opportunity to proudly announce that fact into the microphone was Anne Howell of Tonnos who, for many years has worked tirelessly along with BT’s Christina Barbati as co-conveners for both junior and senior divisions.
“It’s official,” Howell said in an interview. “Those important third-place games helped in pulling us forward for the win. But the biggest factor was that we had gold medalists in both men’s and women’s doubles. That gave us 10 of our 14 points.”

A total of 231 players from eight schools took part in this year’s tournament at Cathedral High School. Tonnos ended up with 14 points, while the St. John Henry Newman Cardinals and Bishop Ryan Celtics tied for second with 11 points.
The HWCDSB junior badminton trophy was first presented in 1984.

Titans took top honours in girls’ doubles when Alyssa Cerovac and Estelle Buist defeated Newman’s Madison Edmonds and Mikayla Kent in the final.

Grade 10 students, Cerovac and Buist are both members of Tonnos’ two-time OFSAA medal-winning senior girls’ volleyball team.

“We’re super excited,” Cerovac said. “We did really bad last year, but we ended up winning here this year. It was awesome.

“Compared to volleyball, yes the badminton net definitely seems low.”

Buist said their partnership on court has “matured” after experiencing a “rough start” last year.

In boys’ doubles, the BT duo of Andy Lock and Ben Masotti won the final over Bishop Ryan’s Aaron John and Christian Spinosa.

“Andy and Ben are both very athletic,” Tonnos coach Julie Van Alstine said. “They worked great as a team. They went through undefeated and were very much in control of their game plan.”

The host Cathedral team – two-time defending junior champions – captured one first-place finish. It was by Tommy Nguyen over Grade 9 student Dario Vlasic of Bishop Ryan.

“Tommy had a fantastic tournament,” Cathedral coach Jay Stokl said. “He was placing his shots and his smash was really working for him.

“Our program is still very strong.”

A silver medal also went to Cathedral in mixed doubles when David Almira and Nah-Tam Dang lost to Isaac Miller and Gabriela Baldyga of the St. John Henry Newman Cardinals.

The lone repeat champion was Zyannah Ramaguerra of the St. Jean de Brébeuf Braves. Her girls’ singles final was against BR’s Margaret Sison.

“I was confident, but not overconfident,” Ramaguerra said. “I didn’t want to brag that I was going to win. I just wanted to have fun and be nice to the people around me.”

The Brébeuf veteran said she’s thankful to her training partner this year – injured and unable to play in Wednesday’s boys’ singles division -- and to her father for encouraging her to take up badminton.

“I enjoy the sport a lot,” she said. “I get to meet new people. I don’t play club. I only play for fun at school.”
In boys’ doubles, third-place went to Keiran Major and Aiden Dakin of the St. Thomas More Knights while Jordan Matira and Adrian Buenaventura of Brébeuf took fourth.

Daniel Guagliano of Newman placed third in boys’ singles ahead of fourth-place finisher Pranav Mahant of Tonnos.
In girls’ singles, Erin Banting of the ACMT Jaguars and Alexis Johnson of the Cardinals came third and fourth, respectively.

Other thirds were by Emma Rajack and Lana Chiu of Tonnos in girls’ doubles and Elma Albaba and Turner Anacleto of Bishop Ryan in mixed doubles. Fourth-place finishers in those respective divisions went to the pairings of Lauren Daly/Maria Atanasoaei (Cathedral) and Summer Morgan/Kourash Mosayebi (Tonnos).

“The kids that were winning really weren’t in fact true badminton players,” Howell said. “They were just really athletic students who picked up the sport.”

Photos by Bob Butrym, RFB Sport Photography

More photos on the HWCDSB Athletics Facebook page here