Volume 91, Issue 47

Thursday, November 20, 1997

stars and strife


Smith soars like a birdie

©Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
HOPE THE HUMANE SOCIETY ISN'T WATCHING. With cold calculation, badminton captain Carolyn Smith prepares to smash a little white birdie into another area code.

By Justin Klein

Gazette Staff

The Western women's badminton team has one major advantage over its provincial opponents and her name is Carolyn Smith. Last year's Most Valuable Player in her rookie season, Smith was named captain this year by her teammates – a major accomplishment for any second-year Mustang.

Western head coach Bill Mason said Smith is an exceptional captain and a positive role model for the other players. "Carolyn is very determined and plays under control," he said. "She is always in good shape and she always seems to give her best every time she's challenged."

Smith, who is majoring in film, provides a great deal of leadership on the court. Using raw talent and experience, she has quickly moved into the first-string position for singles, doubles and mixed doubles on the Western varsity roster.

Her first big test of the season came on Oct. 25 at the West Sectional tournament in Guelph, where the team engaged in the West division round robin. Carolyn not only showed her leadership off the court but she also proved to her opponents why she was worthy of the MVP award given to her last year. Smith won eight straight games without faltering in a single match-up – ensuring a first-place overall victory for the team.

"The team played well as a whole," Smith said. "The results we posted just show we can do well in the upcoming tournaments."

The Mustangs' most recent tournament, a cross-over on Nov. 8-9 against the East division's Toronto Blues, York Yeomen, Ryerson Rams and Queen's Golden Gaels, allowed Smith to display her talent on home soil at Western. Leading the team to the finals, Western was unable to upset powerhouse Queen's, just falling short to finish second. The Mustangs were the fifth seed coming into the tournament.

A truly natural competitor, Smith looks forward to leading her team into a rematch against the Golden Gaels. "We can definitely overtake Queen's in the standings," she said, adding Western will need to strengthen the mixed doubles team to have a shot.

Western has its third tournament of the season in Hamilton at McMaster this weekend. With the majority of the teams coming from the West division, the meet will prepare both Smith and the rest of Western for the final tournament in January, which will determine who advances to the playoffs in February. Invitations will only be handed out to the top four teams in the standings. If Carolyn Smith has it her way, Western will definitely be there.

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1997