This past week King’s played host to the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association badminton championships, and at centre stage were women’s doubles team Maddie Alvarez and Lacey Banman. Alvarez and Banman, both in 3rd year, represented the Atlantic colleges at the national tournament after linking up to form the King’s double’s team at the beginning of this season.
“We’ve spent the last couple months trying to hone in and get better as partners, and it’s worked out pretty well”, says Alvarez, a former FYP student from Calgary, AB now studying management and sociology.
Banman, a Kamloops, BC native doing her BSc in chemistry and math, transferred to King’s last year in part because of the coaching philosophy of King’s coach Ryan McIntosh, who helped coach the Atlantic team’s nationals contingent. In a sport where some of their competitors have been playing together since high school, the host team’s squad needed to forge chemistry quickly.
“I think we both know how to keep it light”, she says. “If it gets a little bit heavy and we get a little bit down, we know how to bring ourselves back up”. “We’re both at a level where we’re comfortable enough with each other to say ‘we need to work on this as a team”, adds Alvarez.
Right off the bat, Thursday’s preliminary games saw them in tough competition against eventual silver medalists Rosalynn Chong & Veronica Yeung from the PACWEST division, but they found their groove in probing play in matches against both squads from Alberta, Hellena Fedoretz and Kai-Li Huang, and Mary Smith and Samantha Cutton.
In front of Saturday’s home crowd at the Kingdome, Banman and Alvarez delivered a spirited performance in a 5th place rematch against Smith and Cutton. The pair stormed out of the gates, winning the first set, before dropping sets 2 and 3 in a tightly contested match.
The pair was grateful to be in front of a local crowd for the tournament. “It makes it so much easier to perform your best. We’ve got an incredible cheer squad here”, says Alvarez. And in turn the King’s community got treated to an impressive performance from an already seasoned duo with a bright future heading into next season.