The George Brown Huskies won their first ever badminton National Championship on Saturday afternoon at UTM.
Huyen Le capped off her historic rookie season by winning the gold medal in Women's Singles at the CCAA National Badminton Championships this past weekend. The first-year standout took down the 2020 CCAA Women's Badminton Player of the Year, Takeisha Wang in a three-set nail-biter, 2-1 (17-21, 21-16, 21-17). It marked the only time Le lost a set to an opponent the entire season.
Le made Husky history with her stellar performance and Melanie Gerin-Lajoie, Manager of George Brown College Athletics and Recreation, could not be more proud of Le's and the coaching staff's accomplishment.
"It's incredibly exciting to bring home this national championship banner. It's our first in the sport of badminton, and only the second ever in George Brown Huskies history. So we were a long time coming!"
The Huskies have claimed four silver and six bronze medals on the National stage since the first CCAA Badminton National Championship was hosted in 1982.
"Coach Schram and his staff do an excellent job of developing our student-athletes into real competitors on the court. And it was shown first-hand in our gold medal, and bronze medal wins," Gerin-Lajoie explained.
Heading into Nationals, head coach Will Schram knew Le was a top-notch badminton player but saw another side in the finals.
"Huyen impressed me because she was making uncharacteristic unforced errors and still found a way to win against a competitor who played an excellent game and strategy," Schram said. I haven't seen Huyen pushed in a singles tournament until now and it let me know how mentally tough she is and how high her badminton IQ is."
The Vietnam native won all five of her round-robin matches to earn the top seed heading into playoffs. She bounced Olds College's Priyanna Ramdhani, 2-0 (21-8, 21-9) in the semi-finals to advance and eventually take home gold. Le finished off her campaign going undefeated and only dropping one game in the process.
The Huskies' Anh Hoang also took home hardware as she earned a third straight medal at the CCAA Championship, this time being a bronze. The fourth-year player also defeated Ramdhani in a three-set thriller (21-14, 16-21, 21-14) to claim the medal.
Hoang ended round-robin play as the third seed going 3-2, while dropping matches to Huyen Le and Takeisha Wang. In the 2018 gold medal rematch against Wang, this time in the semi-finals, Hoang pushed her to the limit but dropped a 2-0 (18-21, 7-21) decision. Hoang experienced a wonderful season for George Brown earning silvers on the Regional and Provincial stage as well as a bronze at Nationals.
Coach Schram helped develop Hoang into one of the best badminton players in the CCAA. He was impressed with Hoang's mentality and effort through the competition.
"Anh played very well at Nationals. She had a very close first game against Takiesha Wang and if she won it, then the match would have been very different. I was proud of her for that," Schram explained. "She also fought hard in the bronze medal match, and after losing nine straight points to lose the second game, she bounced right back and beat her opponent handily."