Smashing toward high hopes of redemption


After suffering a devastating 13-8 defeat against Arcadia during the CIF Finals last year, the Diamond Bar High School badminton team flicked their way back to form this season.

The loss came hot off the heels of a dominating ten-season win streak. Last year, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic prevented a characteristically strong performance, splitting the team apart with a third of its members choosing not to participate.

“Last year, Arcadia was able to overlook it [COVID],” head coach Kemp Wells said. “Arcadia had their entire varsity team, and we were missing at least 4 to 5 players that would have probably been starters for us.”

This year, the Brahma badminton team started strong with an early win against Glen A. Wilson High School, with varsity and JV netting a 21-0 victory overall.

“We were able to beat the other school (Wilson High School) flawlessly, starting our season with a 1-0,” senior Aaron Sun said via Discord.

The team meets for in-person practice every day until 4:30 under the leadership of senior varsity co-captains Ashley Huang, Kodi Lee and Codey Ma.

“All three of these players have won individual CIF championships in their career,” Wells said. “That’s how strong they are.”

Although the spring season has just begun, the Brahmas have already played in five games, including those against Wilson and Chino High School as well as a game in which the Brahmas played Redlands and Redlands East Valley simultaneously.

“I feel pretty confident that the team will do well. The two schools that may be a challenge are Arcadia High and Walnut High,” Sun said. “I hope that our team can win CIF champions again.”

Under Coach Wells’ guidance, players rotate through different events, with all members assigned to play in singles or doubles and optionally participating in mixed doubles as an additional event.

“Usually, when you have players this strong, it also comes with a kind of entitled attitude. We have some of the nicest, hardest working, most dedicated to the team players,” Wells said. “They are good ambassadors for the sport. They really do wanna promote it.”

The DBHS badminton team will play in a round robin schedule every Tuesday and Thursday, rotating through each of its league opponents to determine placements.

“Our girls side of the lineup is unbelievably strong… it’s just amazingly talented,” Wells said. “The only thing that’s beaten us the last two years has been COVID. We’ll make it to the championship for sure. I know how good we are.”