Mesa’s badminton team is powered by Scholar-Athletes

Chris Madaffer, Staff Writer

Mesa College women’s badminton team plays with the amount of heart and effort equal to that of any other team sport. The program has had a lot of success in the past with back-to-back state championships in 2000 and 2001, and this season, they look to create a blueprint for future success.

Consisting of a team of six women who all are first year players, the Lady Olympians are currently third in the standings out of the four teams total in their conference. When asked about the team’s playing experience, coach Frank Bagongahasa said:

“Our entire team consists of first-year players with my number one player being a foreign exchange student from Malaysia. She went to high school there. She’s in student government here at Mesa, and she works in the cafeteria. She’s also in many clubs. I’m astonished as to how she is able to keep up with playing badminton. A lot of the ladies on our team went to school locally within the San Diego Unified School district.” Bagongahasa also noted that there is a player on the team that graduated high school ten years ago and also has a college degree and that her passion for the game is what intrigued her to play this season.

When asked about the learning experience for these athletes, Bagongahasa added that the ladies have adapted to learning a new scoring system known as “Rally Scoring.” The traditional scoring was where a match of doubles is played to fifteen points, while singles matches are played to eleven points. In the rally scoring system, “it’s first to 21 and best two out of three games.”

With schedules that demand balancing time between work, academics and badminton, the Lady Olympians have been impressive in dedicating their academia with their athletics. Bagongahasa said that the team has “been recognized as having the highest team GPA.” Bagongahasa also said that in the past, a couple of his number one, two and three players transferred to UCSD, SDSU and even Cornell.

When it comes to a match and how the matchups between singles and doubles are determined, the singles matches are first and the matchups feature the No. 1 and No. 2 players from each team facing each other, while the No. 3 players play the No. 4 players and the No. 5s compete against the No. 6s. After the singles matches, there is a break, and then the doubles matches begin. In doubles, the No. 1 plays against the No. 2, No. 2 plays No. 1, and No. 3 plays against No. 3. The No. 3 matchup is only worth one point while the No. 1 versus No. 2 player matchup is worth two points.

The final round begins with singles matches where the ranked players for each team square off against an opponent with the same number ranking and so forth.

Finally, a doubles match concludes the competition, and each point scored from both teams has to accumulate a higher point total that adds up to 21 points. That means one team can win by a score of 11 to 10, while sometimes a team might win 18 to 3.

With no lack of determination and a Lady Olympians team that is just beginning to develop into a better-rounded group, Mesa badminton brings to the table an effort from student athletes that any coach would be proud of and any school would cherish.