Midwest Regional Junior Championships

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The Shannon Pohl Badminton Academy (SPBA) was pleased to host the 2014 Midwest Regional Junior Championships from February 15-16th!

This was the first junior national ranking tournament ever for the Midwest Region! Events were held in U11, U13, U15, U17, U19, for Girls Singles, Girls Doubles, Boys Singles, Boys Doubles, and Mixed Doubles. Much thanks to our event sponsor, Wilson Sporting Goods!

The event hosted 111 participants including players from IL, MA, MD, MO, NJ, OH, and TX. 63 players competed from the SPBA. As a result of this tournament, the number of total girls ranked nationally increased by 29%. In the Under 19 age group, the number of girls ranked nationally increased by a whopping 66%! In the Midwest Region alone, the number of girls ranked went from 28 to 100.  Hopefully these figures will lead to more ranking tournaments in the Midwest region and other under represented regions, and larger draw sizes for girls at future Junior Nationals!

Thank you to all the participants and parents who traveled far in snowy conditions to make this event such a success.  We didn’t have a single cancelation due to weather despite flights being canceled on the East Coast and some players having to drive for several days!

Our referee, Liz Wilson, deserves much praise for keeping all of those matches right on schedule and for all of her problem solving skills throughout the event! Thank you to our head umpire, Lynn Maund, for training 6 new umpires at our clinic and throughout the event. To all the volunteer umpires and scorekeepers – thank you for helping this event run smoothly and professionally. Congratulations to those of you who are getting certified as well. Well done!

Thank you to all the Team SPBA parent and player volunteers and to all my extended family members (mom, dad, sister, brother, aunt, boyfriend, best friend, mom’s boyfriend, aunt’s friend) for all of your assistance on everything including: running the desk, humidifying shuttles, uniform handouts, coaching the younger less experienced players, traffic control, registration, set up and tear down, making fabulous good luck signs, and even baking treats for the umpires! Much thank also goes out to Golder College Prep coach Tina Lulla and her players for help in countless areas. Thank you to our stringer, our massage therapist, and Athletico for providing your wonderful services. I couldn’t have pulled off running this prestigious event without such an incredible team! Thank you!

Most of all, thank you to all the clubs who participated and congratulations to all the players who won medals, played in their first Junior National tournament, and earned their first Junior National ranking! As a result of this tournament, the number of junior girls ranked nationally will dramatically increase and players from the Midwest now have a window into the world of junior national level play. I hope this tournament will be a stepping stone for many Midwest players to branch out onto the exciting national badminton scene. To the players from other regions, thank you for supporting our new tournament and we hope to have you back again! Thanks for helping to grow the sport of badminton throughout the country!

SPBA players: I can’t tell you how extremely proud I am of all of you.  Whether you won a medal or not, you all represented our team so well.  I received numerous compliments on your effort, sportsmanship, and play on the court. I was impressed by how you all supported each other and how the experienced kids in the clubs made an effort to coach and help the less experienced players. For many of my beginner and intermediate level players, this was your first tournament ever!  You all tried your hardest and never gave up.  You represented Team SPBA well amongst a tough field of competition.  I know you all learned so much this weekend and that will help you learn and grow as a player in future events!  Most importantly, we had a lot of fun this past weekend! Congratulations!