Heading into the provincial badminton tournament in Halifax on the weekend of April 21, two Grade 8 girls, Maggie Hadskis and Marah Mitton, were ranked fourth, having finished second at the Western Regional Zone Championship.
As the day went on, the girls’ coach, Greg Killam, also their physical education teacher at South Queens Middle School, says their play was getting better and better.
“We talked about how they were playing, and we said, why not us?” he says.
They could do it, they just had to believe in their ability and it was at that point they started to have a strong mindset toward giving each play their best effort, says Killam.
The hard work paid off, as the doubles team won provincials.
Hadskis says it didn’t sink in that they were the best girls doubles junior team in Nova Scotia until later that day.
“Going in to the tournament, I definitely didn’t think we were going to win, she says. “I was hopeful that we would make the top five, but I never expected to win.”
Both Hadskis and Mitton started playing badminton three years ago in Grade 6, but just started playing together this year.
“Winning almost seemed unreal but most of all I felt proud about our win because Maggie and I had worked so hard all season with the small goal of winning districts and then ended up second at districts and second at regionals, but we then went on to win provincials,” says Mitton.
Both girls said they could not have won without the help of their coach and are now looking forward to the next badminton season.
During badminton season, Killam says practices are held after school, three to four times a week for two-and-a-half months. The students work hard practising skills and playing games with each other. Mr. Framp, the coach from the high school, brings his team to South Queens Middle School to give the middle school team experience playing against the older students. Killam says it is an important collaboration between schools to encourage a united effort to represent their school and community.
Killam says Hadskis and Mitton are the first of the students that he had the fortune to coach, who accomplished a provincial title.
“Maggie and Marah never gave up, kept their emotions in check, listened to advice and used their skills to finish with a 4-1 record in a six-team round robin tournament,” he says.
The girls had faith in themselves and learned that it is important to never give up, says Killam.
“As their coach, I am so proud of their accomplishments and even more impressed with how they represented their school and community.”