By Aaron Valdez
Heading into only its third season as a CIF-recognized program, Arcadia High School’s badminton team continues to establish itself as one of San Gabriel Valley’s finest.
After receiving major waves of student interest and community support, current Head Coach Mike Stiles, who was president of the Apaches boosters club, worked with administrators to help create a coed badminton team at Arcadia High School.
In addition to being an aficionado of the sport, Stiles also played badminton during his time in high school and was a CIF champion. His involvement with the program has done wonders for the team, which has seen exponential growth in such a short amount of time.
Last year, the Apaches’ season came to a close when they lost to Mira Costa in the CIF Division I Quarterfinals. It wasn’t an ideal result, but their play over the course of the season served as testament as to what’s to come next.
This season, Arcadia seems to be well on its way for a return to the CIF playoffs and possibly even beyond. However, the Apaches must first go through the gauntlet that is the Almont League, which includes Alhambra, South Pasadena, Loyola/Mayfield, San Marino, San Gabriel and Mark Keppel.
So far, the Apaches have flown out of the gate to a 4-0 overall record. During this run, the team has defeated Cerritos, Chino Hills and The Webb Schools in nonleague matches while also taking its first league game over Loyola/Mayfield.
What is most impressive is that as a team, Arcadia won each of those contests by 17 points or more. The victory over Cerritos, in particular, bears much weight to it since Cerritos was a runner-up in last year’s CIF Division I playoffs.
Most recently, the Apaches followed up its four-game winning streak by placing first in the five-team Mira Costa Tournament last weekend. Badminton powerhouses Long Beach Poly and Mira Costa were among the schools participating and were also semi-finalists in the CIF Division I playoffs last season.
However, no team was any match for Arcadia as the Apaches took 33 of the 55 possible points and won four out of the five events.