Rookie rundown with Molly Peppard

A post-tournament recap through the lens of a Mounties badminton recruit

On November 11 and 12, 2023, the Mount Allison varsity badminton team competed in their first of four circuit tournaments for the 2023–24 season. After scoring 127 points, the Mounties ran away with first place, topping the second-placed Saint John Seawolves. 

Veteran Jacob Lamothe took on the most recent Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) and Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) athlete of the week, Krishna Vaibhov (Saint John), in a gruelling match in the men’s singles finals. Despite losing 17–21 and 14–21, Lamothe showed the extent to which the Mounties are willing and capable of competing with the top players in the league. In the men’s doubles draw, the Mounties made their mark on the league’s best. Last year’s men’s rookie of the year, Wilson Paluch, and co-captain Ben Broadbent clashed with the Seawolves yet again in the finals. After dropping the first game 13–21, the Mounties stormed back with a 21–17 win, setting up a dramatic winner-take-all game three. While they did fall short of the experienced Saint John duo, Paluch and Broadbent took great strides together. 

In the mixed category, Vaibhov and Sydney Arsenault of Saint John took down the reigning league champions King’s College Blue Devils pair of Aidan Badcock-Parks and Anna Gillies, the 2023 men’s doubles silver medalist and mixed doubles gold medalist, respectively, to meet first years Molly Peppard and Mike Ta in the finals. In a spectacular showing from the young duo, the Mountie mixed team hung with the Seawolves and showed terrific potential for a great season together. 

Two women’s doubles teams faced off on opposite sides of the bracket. Co-captain Brianna Warwick and third-year Taryn Greco were tasked with the number one ranked King’s duo of Gillies and Ritu Shah, the former Nationals gold medalist and Canada Games silver medalist. Meanwhile, Peppard and recent female rookie of the year Brenell Enman took on the Seawolves in their first tournament as partners. While each team lost in these tough matches, the Mounties continued collecting points to secure the team award for first place at l’Université de Sainte-Anne. 

Finally, the women’s singles division saw Warwick challenge Shah in a tough match that led to a Mounties’ defeat. On the other side of the draw, Peppard faced Saint John’s Arsenault in the second semi-final match. While she tracked the shuttle with ease, the promising rookie fell short of Arsenault. Competing in her first collegiate tournament, Peppard shared her thoughts on the memorable experience: “I really enjoyed my first badminton tournament as it went above and beyond expectations. From playing badminton to the team dynamic, it was so much fun!”

Peppard shared that for the next tournament, she “would probably … [go] into games with a more level head,” as “during this tournament, [she] went into some games thinking the opponent was unbeatable and this really made [her] play worse.” Next time, “now that [she knows] a little bit more about who [she] will be playing against, [she] can go in with a better mindset.” 


Photo caption: Galen Juliusson (photographer) captures fourth-year Biology student Brianna Warwick, co-captain of Mounties badminton, in action as she retrieves a shuttle from a singles match on January 29, 2023. 

Also competing were the Dalhousie AC Rams and the hosts, l’Université de Sainte-Anne Dragons. The Mounties’ next tournament takes place at home, on Sunday, November 26 all day long in the McCormack Gymnasium.

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