By Larry Moko
The “twin towers” came up big for the St. Mary Crusaders at the 2019 Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic junior high school badminton championships.
Carter Sabourin, who is a 6-foot-3, combined with 6-foot-2 Will Oliver to capture the boys’ doubles title at Cathedral High School Thursday.
They were both members of the Crusader junior basketball team.
“I call them my twin towers,” St. Mary coach Ming Chong said of the lanky pair. “They’re huge, athletic and get to a lot of birdies.”
In the final match, the Grade 10 pairing of Sabourin and Oliver topped another St. Mary duo, Dillan Morphet and Sam Rath. “It’s kind of sad for them,” Sabourin said of the victory over his teammates.
“But they’ll be alright. They are in Grade 9, so they’ve got next year to win.”
In addition to being members of the school’s junior basketball team this season, Sabourin and Oliver play the sport at the club level for the Flamborough Fire.
“As our (badminton) coach says, we can get really high for the smashes,” Oliver said. “We get the angles so it’s really hard to return.”
Sabourin attributed the victory to teamwork and good communication.
In other events, the girls’ doubles gold medal went to Cathedral’s Grade 9 twin sisters Kylie and Kaylor Rosos. They defeated Megan Warrener and Vanessa Upson of Cardinal Newman – both elite hockey players – in the final.
“It was really hard … we didn’t give up,” Kaylor Rosos said of having to play back-to-back matches against Warrener and Upson to close out the double knockout competition.
Said Cathedral coach Ken John: “They won because of their work ethic and determination. They started off the year not knowing anything about badminton.”
The Rosos’s older brother, Kirk, also won a gold medal in boys’ doubles at the recent HWCAA senior badminton championships.
Overall, the team championship ended up in a tie between the Cathedral Gaels and the defending champion Cardinal Newman Cardinals. Each had 18 points.
Cathedral also picked up a gold medal in boys’ singles when Dante Lentini outlasted his Gaels teammate John Concueno in the final.
“I’m really happy with the way I played,” Lentini said. “I came into the tournament (preliminary rounds were last week) not expecting to go far …just to play for fun. I ended up doing really well.
“I’m not the best at smashing the birdie, but a lot of my drop shots people can’t return. When they do return it, I have an easier shot to put it in the corner.”
The girls’ singles division was won by Jayne Seguma of Cardinal Newman over Simona Schumacher of the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves.
“Jayne is from the Philippines and she has been here about a year,” Newman coach Tom Campanella said. “Back home, she had been playing for three or four years. She has a positive attitude and a great clear and smash. She just has to work a little bit on her footwork.”
Newman’s other championship came in mixed doubles. That’s where Steven Zupanic and Ema Paskvalin defeated Cathedral’s Aldo Fonseca and Michelle Bui in the gold-medal match.
“They’re both in Grade 10 and first-time badminton players,” Campanella said of the Zupanic/Paskvalin duo. “They didn’t try out last year. They’ve picked up the sport pretty well.”