by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips
The host Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder broke the NAIT Ooks eight-year run by claiming the team event Saturday at the 2018-2019 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference Badminton Championships held at the Ralph King Athletic Centre. (there was a two-year hiatus from the sport 2012-2014)
"It was nice to finally win the (ACAC) team title," said Thunder head coach Kevin MacAlpine, in a telephone interview Monday while ice fishing. "We have been close the last couple of years. We have had a chance to beat them and came up a little bit short. This year we knew that we had a good chance in the team event and that we had to go out there and perform."
Last time Concordia won the team event was 2007-2008.
On Sunday, the ACAC provincials were held to see who would qualify for the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Badminton Championships to be hosted by the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus Rams, March 6-9, 2019 in Bible Hill, Nova Scotia.
The host Thunder ended up with one gold, one silver and five bronze while the Ooks smashed their way to three gold and four silver. The Kings University Eagles claimed their first ever gold medal.
Two-time defending women's singles champion Takeisha Wang and her brother Desmond Wang, men's defending champion, both of members of the Thunder, did not enter singles this year but instead teamed up for mixed doubles where they claimed gold.
"They've wanted to do this for a while," said MacAlpine. "It's pretty unique that a brother and sister will compete together as a team at nationals. I don't know if it has been done before."
New faces but the same school returned to the gold medal podium with NAIT claiming men's doubles for the eight time in-a-row with Jeffrey Ko & Ronuelle Mendina while in women's doubles it was Bea Bernardo & Ryo Kuramoch.
"The results ended up exactly as we predicted. I'm happy with how we played all weekend. I'm also excited that we were able to qualify ten players for nationals. I think we have a legitimate chance in all of the events,' said NAIT head coach, Sinead Cheah in a media release.
The men's and women's singles category would have new champions with Eagles' Narayan Ramdhani claiming men's singles and Ooks' Eyota Kwan women's singles.
Gold and silver placements advance to nationals with possible placement of bronze teams also attending due to medalists in one or more events.
Gold: Narayan Ramdhani, Kings
Silver: Nicolas Pittman, Concordia
Bronze: Braxton Wong - Concordia
Gold: Eyota Kwan - NAIT
Silver: Samantha Hsu - NAIT
Bronze: Kassiday Turcotte - Concordia
Gold: Jeffrey Ko & Ronuelle Mendina - NAIT
Silver: John Li &Tyler Walsh - NAIT
Bronze: Braxton Wong & Raphael Wong - Concordia
Gold: Bea Bernardo & Ryo Kuramoch - NAIT
Silver: Samantha Hsu and Connie Juang NAIT
Bronze: Kaylee Morris and Kassidy Turcotte – Concordia
Gold: Takeisha Wang & Desmond Wang – Concordia
Silver: Luc-Ly Nguyen & Connie Juang – NAIT
Bronze: Braxton Wong & Kaylee Morris - Concordia