By Kyle Edwards
Drive, drop, clear, smash — shuttlecocks were in full swing this past weekend as the Ryerson Rams hosted the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) badminton championship.
The Rams started the weekend strong at Kerr Hall gym, with most of the team cruising past the qualification round and heading into the playoff round. On Sunday the Rams only medal came from men’s doubles partners Kirk Hansen and Nathan Cheng, who picked up bronze. The Waterloo Warriors captured the overall team banner with 63 points, 18 points more than the second place Western Mustangs.
The Rams finished sixth with 11 points.
“I’m used to the gym and I definitely feel really comfortable playing here,” said Hansen, a second-year economics student. “Sometimes it’s nice to travel a bit to go to somewhere new, but as far as playing I liked the home court advantage, it’s been good.”
Hansen was the top seed in his singles pool during qualification and went a perfect 3-0 before being eliminated in round two of the playoffs. Hansen and Cheng were able to take the first set from the gold medal winning pair from the McMaster Marauders in the semifinals, but lost the next two sets, 16-21, 21-19, 21-12.
On the women’s bracket Renee Wong, Avenie Lee and Chris Pinto were all stopped in round two of the singles playoff draw. In mixed doubles, none of the three Rams pairs made it past the second round of the playoff.
The last time the Rams hosted the OUA championship was two years ago and it had three fewer teams. This time around the days were longer and more competitive, but for head coach Rob Fullerton, the message heading into the pressure-filled event was the same as always.
“I wanted them to perform their best,” he said. “So whatever the tournament threw at them in terms of draw, in terms of unexpected events that always come up, they just have to adapt and perform their best. I’m here to help them do that but that’s all I ever ask of them.”