Champs still improving game

This season, Diamond Bar High School’s varsity badminton started strong with a 21-0 win against Redlands. Yet the team isn’t resting on its accomplishments, looking  to improve on team unity before the end of the year.

“Last season we won the CIF championship so we couldn’t get much better unless we won the game more easily but I felt the team did a fantastic job in that championship,” head coach Kemp Wells said.

With a smaller number of girls on the team than boys, Wells said  that sophomore Ashley Huang, CIF champion of women’s singles last year, has improved in her resilience and performance after recovering from injuries. He also added that sophomore Kodi Lee and junior Claire Wang were a strong pair too as they both won the Southern California Doubles Championship last year.

For the boys lineup, Wells shared that the roster has a solid core with new captains seniors Brandon Zhou and Owen Chae, who won CIF Championships in men’s doubles last year. The head coach also said  that junior Connor Lam would be returning this season after recovering from injuries that kept him inactive last season.  

“If [Lam] comes back, then that should give us a huge boost because we already returned a good core,” Wells said.

The Brahmas also competed against The Webb Schools and won, 17-4. Although the team put its less experienced players in the match, the Brahmas showed their depth by  winning against Webb.

“We had some players who were less experienced play in that match [The Webb High School] and they did well,” Wells said. “So it means we can turn to them if we need to substitute our second round because I’m sure they can do a solid job.”

To practice for the season, Wells said  that the badminton team has changed the way they practiced.

“Rather than having them do a two-hour practice with us and then go do an individual training later in the evening, I’d rather have them focus more on outside because their coach could do individual training and they’ll get more out of that,” Wells said.

Wells explained that Walnut High School may possibly prove as a challenge for the team and admitted that their rival’s lineup was one-sided as their girls lineup was stronger compared to their boys lineup. However, the Brahmas defeated Walnut in their first match against each other with a score of 17-4.

“That’s been always one of our advantages for years,” Wells said. “The fact that we have depth on both sides [of our lineup] has been an advantage.”