The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

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Badminton gears up for season

Team embraces new leadership in multiple levels
Sonya Plichta ‘25 prepares to kill the birdie during a drill at a team practice on Mar. 4 (James/LION).

This year, the badminton players kicked off their season after undergoing significant changes in their coaching staff. Stephanie Spytek took the reins as head varsity coach in place of Susan McClenahan, while Chuck Witt stepped into the role as freshman coach, replacing Bryan Hamilton.

“Starting a new season and having to go into it not knowing the coach is intimidating,” Simone Brown ‘25 said. “But I think the change will be nice because it’s always good to see how different people run things and get different perspectives.”

Last year two doubles and two singles made it to state, making this year’s goal to continue the success, Brown said. 

“Doing exercises, doing workouts, and just doing things together builds comradery because you’re going through all the hard stuff together,” Brown said. “Last year our team was well-bonded, well-connected, and everyone had each other’s back so I’m looking forward to that again this year.”

Spytek, who’s passion for the sport was sparked during her own experience playing in high school, shares a similar outlook and hopes to get players to state while fostering a fun and team-oriented environment.

“A big thing is team bonding,” Spytek said. “I think this sport is really unique because you’re working individually or in a pair, but after all matches are complete, players come back together as a team.”

Badminton is a relatively short season, Spytek said. With the conference meet on April 26 and sectionals and state during the first two weeks of May, practices will be spent running drills, working footwork, and practicing strategy in order to hone in on skills in preparation for meets.

“I think it’s really important to be an offensive player,” Spytek said. 

In addition to preparing for a successful season, Spytek plans to continue the Orange Crush event which was initially run by the previous freshman coach, Bryan Hamilton.

Orange Crush, an open gym for badminton which invites members of the community to come play and have fun, is a beloved LT badminton tradition, Brown said. The badminton team is in charge of selling the shirts which act as a ticket to get into the event, which raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. While in recent years Orange Crush has been held the week before spring break, the exact date this year was undecided as of LION’s press deadline.

Ultimately, Orange Crush is a fun opportunity for students, players, staff, and more to show their love and appreciation for badminton while supporting a good cause, she said. 

“Freshman year I tried out for badminton because I missed the comradery and togetherness that being on a team brings,” Brown said. “And every year I keep going back to meet new people, make new friends, and to be challenged in a new way.”

The varsity badminton team will be competing next in a Quad-meet at Willowbrook High School on April 8.

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Sofia D'Antonio
Sofia D'Antonio, Reporter
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