By Larry Moko
A top student in terms of academic achievement at Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School has also made the grade in badminton.
Along with his men’s doubles partner Ben Xamin, Luca Ramelli finished second at the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic finals to qualify for Wednesday’s Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference badminton championships in Burlington.
Ramelli, who is in Grade 12, averages nearly 99 per cent in math and sciences.
“Luca is ranked as the top student at Bishop Ryan,” Celtics coach Brian Grajales said prior to the medal presentations at Cathedral High School. Two hundred and 20 players took part in the two-day HWCAA double-knockout competition which ended with only playoff-round action Monday.
“I’m working really hard now to keep my grades up,” Ramelli said. “I’m tracking to be close to 99 (per cent). I’m hoping to get there.
“I’ve received quite a few offers from different Ontario schools. Right now I’m deciding which one I feel is best for me.”
Ramelli also excels in baseball. He has been a key member of Bishop Ryan’s two championship baseball teams. Said Grajales: “One thing that I admire about him as a student/athlete is his love for learning about the sport. He’ll watch videos to try to improve and incorporate it into his game on the court. He’s not only a good athlete but a student of the game as well.”
Ramelli is pleased that he and Xamin have progressed so far in badminton.
“I thought today went really well,” he said. “Since we teamed up four years ago, this was by far the furthest we’ve come in the tournament. It’s amazing. In Grade 9 we were just two buds who wanted to go out and play badminton. We’ve developed our team work, communication and collaboration skills. As we’ve grown as friends off the court it has kind of helped our game on the court as well.”
The Cathedral duo of Kirk Rosos and Viktor Esma took top honours in men’s doubles. They lost only one set in all of their matches at the tournament and that was to Ramelli and Xamin.
The overall senior team championship went to the St. Mary Crusaders for the second consecutive year.
“I thought we would have a very good chance,” St. Mary coach Ming Chong said. “We were junior champions two years ago and a lot of those kids came up. There were also holdovers from last year’s senior championship team.”
St. Mary picked up two gold medals. Rachel Grightmire and Taite Cleland defeated St. Thomas More’s Chloe Frias and Emilie Calabrese in the women’s doubles final, while Valentina Papaioannou downed Bishop Ryan’s Chloe Umutoni for the women’s singles title.
In other events, Kyle Martin got past his St. Thomas More Knights teammate T. J. Hughes in the men’s single finale and the mixed doubles category went to Tilen Groznik and Kristen Abboud of Bishop Ryan over More’s Adam El Dora and Alyssa Giovannangeli.
“We had to play a lot more games than anyone else,” said Groznik who, along with Abboud competed in the losers’ bracket on opening day due to an early defeat. “It was tough. I’m so tired right now.”
Said Abboud: “We definitely earned it. We had to work hard. We beat the last team (El Dora and Giovannageli, twice). At the first tournament we were there for like eight hours.”
The GHAC championships at Hayden Secondary School will decide qualifiers for the OFSAA tournament which will be held May 2-4 in North Bay.
Source: Marnie Jadon