Hunt inspired by grandpa
A.N. Myer’s Holly Hunt was thinking of her grandfather, Des Hunt, while competing Thursday in the Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Association senior badminton championships at Heritage Christian.
“I was thinking that I can’t lose. Grandpa doesn’t lose,” the Grade12 student said, moments after defeating Centennial’s Victoria Kim to qualify for the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations championships May 11-13 in Port Hope. Kim, the second-place finisher in the high school girls event, earned the right to challenge Hunt, an open player, for a spot at OFSAA. Winning the high school girls division was V. Sobotka from Sir Allan MacNab.
Des Hunt passed away in February and Holly lost an important person in her sporting and personal life.
“He was a very big influence and he inspires me to play,” she said.”Before he died, he gave me the racquet he won world masters with and I keep that in my room. It’s motivation to actually go to practice.”
Des won the world masters 55 plus badminton singles championship in Denmark and Holly’s aunt, Kathleen Hunt, is a former provincial and national champion who competed in the Pan-Am Games
Holly will be making her second appearance at OFSAA. In Grade 11, she placed fourth in the A Flight.
“It made me want to go again because it was a really fun experience,” she said. “My goal is to just win a few games.”
Hunt plays out of the Niagara Falls Badminton Club and the club has been a big part of her development. She has a love/hate relationship with the venerable club.
“It is so authentic. It is so cold in the winter and so hot in the summer. It’s awful but it is charming. I don’t want to play anywhere else.”
The club uses feather birds compared to the vinyl birds used at the high school level and Hunt admits that is a bit of a challenge.
“But we practice a lot with the vinyl birds so I am used to them for the school tournaments.”
Hunt, who is ranked 43rd in the province in singles and 38th in doubles, has a target in mind for her badminton career.
“My goal is to get good enough to play in the Ontario Winter Games.”
She is heading to Niagara College in the fall and is hoping to play a part in resurrecting the school’s varsity badminton program.
“I do want to reopen it. I am going to see if I can do that.”
Winning the mixed doubles title were David Lu and Megan Barker from Sir Winston Churchill. Also qualifying for OFSAA was a second-place team from For Allan MacNab and the third-place team from Smithville Christian made up of Abby V. and Ephraim H.
Mandy Zhang and Kendra Osa from Sir Winston Churchill won the SOSSA girls doubles crown. Also qualifying for OFSAA were Niagara Christian Collegiate’s Emme Chan and Daisy Li.