Bad­minton sil­ver for Bac­calieu

The Compass - - S22, - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS

If Sa­man­tha Ash and Sarah Mont­gomery, both of Hant’s Har­bour, had any ill ef­fects from a hec­tic travel sched­ule prior to the start of the pro­vin­cial bad­minton cham­pi­onships held May 5-6 at Meni­hek High School in Labrador City, they did not show it.

The two Bac­calieu Col­le­giate stu­dents had to en­dure a long evening and early morn­ing be­fore even reach­ing the main­land por­tion of the prov­ince.

Both ath­letes at­tended grad­u­a­tion cer­e­monies at Bac­calieu Col­le­giate in Old Per­li­can the evening of May 4 — Ash as a grad­u­ate and Mont­gomery, who is a Level II stu­dent, as a guest. The pair then took part in safe grad ac­tiv­i­ties be­fore hop­ping a plane at St. John’s In­ter­na­tional Air­port the morn­ing of the tour­na­ment, May 5.

Their flight was sup­posed to go out at 9 a.m. but it ended up get­ting de­layed un­til 10:30 a.m.

“We were re­ally rushed,” said Mont­gomery. “But, it was re­ally, re­ally ex­cit­ing.”

When the pair landed in Labrador City, it was tour­na­ment time.

The tour­na­ment turned out to be a suc­cess for the two ath­letes, who came home with sil­ver medals. They have been dou­bles part­ners since Grade 8.

Other teams came from host Meni­hek, Stephenville High and B.L. Mor­ri­son All Grade School in Postville, Labrador.

“We did not ex­pect it at all,” said Mont­gomery.

The tour­na­ment fea­tured all of “the top teams from around the prov­ince,” said Ash, and was a “re­ally good ex­pe­ri­ence.”

She noted the two do not have a lot of time to prac­tice their sport. Each ath­lete leads an ac­tive school life, with both play­ing bad­minton and vol­ley­ball amongst other ac­tiv­i­ties. Ash achieved suc­cess on the pro­vin­cial public speak­ing cir­cuit this year, while Mont­gomery also runs cross-coun­try.

“One week­end we had is­land provin­cials, the next week­end there was ball hockey and then that week­end there was grad,” said Mont­gomery.

Bac­calieu met the host Meni­hek in the fi­nals.

“They were all close games,” said Ash.

Meni­hek took the final match, two games to none with straight 2017 vic­to­ries.

“We were just hop­ing to do well at the tour­na­ment, but sil­ver was great,” said Ash.

Mont­gomery said the sil­ver medals were an un­ex­pected part of the trip.

“It was un­be­liev­able when they put the medals around our necks,” she said.

It was the sec­ond Top 2 fin­ish for the team of Ash and Mont­gomery this sea­son, as the two snagged the girls’ dou­bles ti­tle at the 2012 Is­land Pro­vin­cial Bad­minton Cham­pi­onship, held at the West Coast Train­ing Cen­tre in Stephenville April 2021.

The vic­tory qual­i­fied them for the pro­vin­cial tour­na­ment in Labrador City.

Meet­ing new peo­ple

Both Ash and Mont­gomery said get­ting to meet new peo­ple was one of the trip’s high­lights.

“It’s re­ally cool once we got up there be­cause not only did we get to play the games, but we also got to see Labrador,” said Ash.

“They wel­comed us as soon as we got there and tried to make us feel as com­fort­able as pos­si­ble,” said Ash.

A bit­ter­sweet medal

The tour­na­ment was the last for Ash as a high schooler, and brought bit­ter­sweet mem­o­ries for the duo.

“It was nice to be able to fin­ish it off like that,” said Mont­gomery.

Ash added: “It meant a lot to me.”

nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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