Badminton silver for Baccalieu
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.”