Perfectly Matched: Queens high school badminton team wins their second championship title in three years

This article is one of the winning submissions from the New York Post Scholars Contest, presented by Command Education.

In November 20, the boys varsity badminton team at Townsend Harris High School finished their triumphant season with a victory against Franklin. D Roosevelt High School, securing their position as PSAL Champions for the second time in three years.

The final game came down to an intense second doubles match between Townsend Harris players, Apurbo H. and Victor W., and Franklin. D Roosevelt players, Jiexian T. and Jun Yuan W C. After a deep shot into the corner made by Victor, Townsend Harris secured the championship point, finished with a final score of 3-2 and celebrated as supporters rushed the court.

In a “PSAL Boys Badminton Team Championship” article, published by PSAL, the author referred to this matchup as “the best championship contest of all time.” Led by Coach Matthew Lemanczyk, the badminton coach of six years, the team finished with a triumphant 8-0 record. Coach Lemanczyk gives credit to the leadership on the team as a crucial reason for the team’s achievement.

“Our team’s success individually and collectively was a result of excellent leadership from our team captains. Jie X. and Vincent W. did an amazing job at leading this team,” he says. The team prepared “with purpose and determination.”

“My expectations for the game was that even though we would win, it wouldn’t have been a complete sweep. That is exactly what happened as it was literally tied up with one remaining game as the tiebreaker,” says junior Brian W.

Junior Justin X., a first-year member of the team, adds, “I expected it to be like any other game, but as time started to pass, the pressure for our players began to rise because we had a tied score of 2-2.”

The suspense and intensity continued to rise within Edward R. Murrow High School gymnasium, the same place the team faced a loss in the championship game last year. “We had been here last year too but had to settle for second place. I didn’t want a repeat of what happened last year,” says junior Apurbo.

Regardless of the team’s nerves, many players describe Apurbo and Victor acquiring the game winning point as their most cherished memory from the matchup. “[My] favorite moment was definitely when we won and everybody ran to our 2nd doubles and hugged them. We all just grouped up…it was just all so incredible,” Junior Jacky C. says

Despite the team’s success, several players are already looking for ways to improve and grow beyond this past season.

Specifically, Jacky describes the physical aspect of the game as being the team’s weakest skill and adds, “we need to improve that next year and get all of our players strong so we can win with further margins next time.”

With such a successful season under the team’s belt, they hope for a bright future. They will be losing some valuable players who graduate this year, such as Jie X., a two-time individual city champion, and Vincent W., a third-place doubles player in the city. “I have faith in my team and in our current starters to keep improving and be better than the graduating seniors before we become seniors,” says Brian.

Acquiring a PSAL Championship banner and remaining undefeated may not have been easy, but the team came out victorious in the end.

Coach Lemanczyk says, “This team demonstrated the ability to work hard, persevere, and be a selfless teammate throughout the season. I hope each athlete continues to use the attributes demonstrated this season as a template and a guide to a successful and happy life.”

An 11th-grader at Townsend Harris High School in Queens, Hannon would like to pursue a career in film.