by Cerwin D. Haynes
(photos by Nicole Funes)
East Los Angeles College was only four games into their 2020 season when CCCAA shut down state athletics due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Huskies began the season by losing to top-ranked Pasadena City on February 21, then dropped their home debut against a tough El Camino team a week later. Head coach Qui Nguy believed the first two matches served as a good barometer for ELAC: "It showed how good we are," said Coach Nguy, "and that we have to work our way up".
It appeared ELAC was indeed working their way up - they swept a double-header at Compton on March 6, and was looking forward to a rematch at El Camino on the 20th before the season was stopped. Naturally, the lost season was a let down for the team.
"We would've beat them the second go-round," said Nguy. "The girls were really disappointed; they were looking forward to going to Fresno to compete in State". (To wit: last season, ELAC advanced five players to the state tournament in Pasadena.)
There is a silver lining to the team's newfound free time: Coach Nguy has his players watching professional matches, a benefit the team would not have normally been able to enjoy in-season. "It's a great time to see their shots, analyze the game more," coach explains. "Instead of working on drills, they can watch matches from the US [Badminton] Open. They can watch professional examples of serves, see their shots, and analyze strategies". He even had a Zoom meeting with his players to review the season and instruct them to practice at home.
Like everyone else, Nguy isn't sure what the immediate future holds. For now, he's just keeping his team engaged and hopes to enroll them into the appropriate summer courses (that will be online).