By Grace Fong
The boys varsity badminton team recently finished its final season of the decade. They ended it with placing second in the county. Many players won All County, such as David Fong, Stanley Wong, Justin Choi, and Ryan Wu. Ryan Wu not only placed in All County but he also won first place for singles.
This news does not surprise many. Sophomore Ryan Wu has been training since he was a child. Wu’s dad owns a badminton center where many of Great Neck South’s students go to practice and learn badminton. His whole family is involved with badminton and have participated in various tournaments. Before this year, Wu had been second to his brother, Ethan Wu, on the school badminton team. However, this year, Ryan took on the responsibility of being first singles. Since freshman year, Ryan has been one of the three singles on the varsity badminton team.
Overall, the season has been victorious for the team. Because Mrs. Sudaka, the usual coach for the boys’ badminton team, was on maternity leave, guidance counselor and girls’ badminton coach Mrs. Allison Gottfried coached the boys’ team this year. Mrs. Gottfried usually starts practice off with sprints and stretches led by the team captains: Alan Lin, David Fong and Eric Wong. After the stretches, the singles and doubles will partner up and do drills that will help develop their technique such as clears, smashes, serves and serve returns, drop shots, net shots and drives. Sometimes, Mrs. Gottfried will have the doubles challenge each other and the singles challenge each other just to keep the competitiveness up.
Wu trains an immense amount not only at school, but also at NYBC (New York Badminton Center). Everyday during the season, Wu trains for one hour at school and then a supplemental two hours on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Although this is a large commitment and is quite time consuming, his training has paid off. Wu has beat all of his opponents this season—even his toughest match, Gary Jiang from Jericho High School. When the team competed at All County, Wu placed first in singles. In their last game vs. Jericho, with the county title at stake, Wu won.
Wu is great at motivating the team. Unlike other athletes, Wu not only motivates but also calms his teammates. Ryan always gives off a positive vibe, and his teammates aspire to reach his level of playing. According to his teammates and his coach, Ryan is the type of person who would “stop and help someone out without fearing that they will surpass him.”
Featured image was reproduced from Newsday.