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Mira Costa Badminton Smashes Season Opener

Feb 25, 2024 10:37PM ● By Alan Berkes

Mira Costa Badminton plays in the Pavilion Gym at the new athletic complex. Photo credit: Alan Berkes.

Saturday was a landmark day for Mira Costa Badminton. Hosting a tri-meet at the new Mira Costa Sports Complex, Costa came out on top, winning 14 matches to Redlands’ 10 and Long Beach Poly’s 9. But it wasn’t just the success on the court; it was the journey the program has taken since COVID that deserves a spotlight.
With sports shut down in 2020 and only 12 players in the spring of 2021, the storied history of Manhattan Beach's great badminton players, having grown out of the legendary Manhattan Beach Badminton Club (MBBC), seemed like a distant memory.
"[In the past] We had CIF champions, club and international players to lead the team - and then after COVID we barely had enough players to field one varsity team," said Coach Cindy Levin, who has 25 years of experience coaching badminton. "This year, we actually had to limit the team to 36 players after having 45 last year, so we can give everyone more individual coaching and playing time.”
The new Mira Costa Sports Complex helped the growth of the program by allowing students to practice and play right after school in the Pavilion gym instead of traveling off-site to the MBBC. And with a tri-meet like Saturday and six other matches scheduled for home, including the first Mira Costa Badminton Tournament at the Pavilion Gym on March 9, badminton has truly become integrated into the Mira Costa sports community.
“It was great to play on campus while volleyball, baseball, swimming and lacrosse were also competing,” said Patty Perkinson, who took over as badminton faculty coach with the passing of Mike McAvin, who helped steel the program through COVID. 

Perkinson, a PE teacher at Costa, coached Costa girls’ soccer for 33 years and stepped up to work with the badminton team on strength and conditioning before taking on head coach duties this year. “Badminton is the only true coed sport, where we train together and compete in mixed doubles. We’re also inclusive for different level of players; first timers and experienced players are welcome,” she said.
Badminton is known for matches that are fast and furious, with the top players executing smashes and drop shots while needing lighting fast reflexes on defense. Senior Captain Zach Berkes played all of the traditional sports before picking up a badminton racquet for the first time in 9th grade. “The team needed players and I was immediately accepted by coaches and teammates, despite never having played before," he said. "I was encouraged to learn and am honored to have been named captain the last two years.”
Berkes and his mixed doubles partner senior Isabelle Chen and boys doubles partner freshman Hao Lin swept their matches Saturday. Chen and senior Jaclyn Wang swept girls singles as Lin and Wang swept their mixed doubles matches also. Seniors TJ Lee and Andrew Pedrotti swept their two boys' doubles matches and junior James Zhang and freshman Luka Wong won one of their boys' singles matches each to give Costa 14 wins and the match.
“Saturday TJ and Andrew won two close battles which last year, they lost similar close matches," said David Levin, Costa badminton coach who also coaches the girls program at El Camino College. “It was their hard work at the MBBC in the off-season that made the difference. We’re so excited for this year’s squad, deep with senior talent but sprinkled with underclass players to build for the future.”
One thing COVID did for athletes was make them appreciate their sport and the opportunity to compete and have fun in the process. 

“Badminton has changed my life," said Berkes, who is in his fourth year on varsity and who hopes to play club or rec at college next year. “Many skills that I learned in other sports come into play, and it's so much fun. Our season is off to a great start.”
Check out the team's schedule at or follow them on Instagram at @MiraCostaBadminton.

Alan Berkes is a Costa parent who has coached multiple youth sports in Manhattan Beach. He assists the Mira Costa Badminton team with photo, video, and blogging.

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