After a disappointing week in Saskatoon, it was a successful weekend back home for Hanna-Hendrickson-Rebizant and Maxime Betournay.
Both were eliminated early in the Under-19 National Badminton Championships, but both bounced back with strong performances to win provincial singles high school titles.
Betournay, a Grade 12 student at College Louis-Riel, cruised to the championship, defeating Matthew West of Miles Macdonell Collegiate in the boys’ final. Whether West tried a power game or a more finesse approach, Betournay had an answer for everything.
"It’s nice to win this," said the St. Boniface resident, who trains outside of school at the Rady J.C.C. "High school badminton is more of a side thing, but it’s good to win for the school."
Hendrickson-Rebizant is a Grade 11 student at the University of Winnipeg Collegiate who commutes to school from Winnipeg Beach. She defeated Gimli’s Tai Dankochik in the girls’ final.
"It feels good," Hendrickson-Rebizant said. "I finished fourth last year, and I came back from nationals so I could play. It feels good to represent the school here."
Hendrickson-Rebizant is a member at the Winnipeg Winter Club, and does a lot of her training at the Reh-Fit Centre. She said it was around the semifinals that she began to get a little bit nervous.
"I was feeling pretty good, but I did get the nerves there a little bit," she said. "I only lost one game (during the preliminary rounds) so I’m pretty happy with how I did."
Betournay wasn’t the only winner from College Louis-Riel, which hosted Saturday’s finals. Colin Remillard and Cedric Gousseau took the boys’ doubles title, which helped the Voyageurs win the aggregate banner for AAA and AAAA schools. The school’s 41 points easily topped second-place Miles Mac and third-place Westwood Collegiate.
Betournay gave most of the credit for such a small school being so good at badminton to coach Robert Stanners.
"He pushes the sport quite a bit," Betournay said. "A lot of players get exposed to the sport at the school and then join other programs offered by the (Manitoba Badminton Association). "
While Betournay was receiving congratulations for his victory, he was already thinking about next year’s national junior championship, a chance to make up for his early exit in Saskatoon.
He plans to spend the next year training full-time, working especially hard on adding power to his game.
"I’m usually not that physical of a player," he said. "I’ve been working on technique mostly lately. Now I need to work on my power."
Cora Tsang and Helen Cheung of Vincent Massey Collegiate were the girls’ doubles champs, and Jan and Patricia Salceda of Sisler took home the girls’ doubles championship.