Lisa Nicholson, right, and Prince George badminton partner Kiana Gallagher placed first in the U17 girls doubles division in a tournament last weekend.

Terrace badminton player smashes into first

At age 15, Lisa Nicholson placed in top five in U17 and U19 singles, first in doubles with a friend

A 15-year-old badminton player from Terrace smashed into first with a new Prince George at a recent Junior B tournament in Prince George.

Terrace’s Lisa Nicholson partnered up with Kiana Gallagher from Prince George to compete in the U17 doubles division, and together they beat two other teams to take first.

Clearing birdies in the single-elimination division, Nicholson and Gallagher played against eight other teams, but took a bye past the first round because of Nicholson’s travel time.

Teamed up by the Prince George coach, Nicholson and Gallagher won their first game in three sets, and Nicholson says they clicked well.

“We play together well, because we don’t get in each others way,” Nicholson said, adding that she was paired with Gallagher in the same tournament last year and was happy to play together again.

“We flow easily,” Nicholson said of their teamwork. “You can read each other, where they’re going to go, where you need to go… We didn’t even have to look at each other, we just knew which side to go to,” Nicholson said.

Most often, Nicholson says Gallagher takes the front of the court, and Nicholson falls back, playing their strengths.

“She was good at drops and lifts. I was good at smashing and clearing it all the way to the back.”

They won their second game, again best-of-three, and though Nicholson said she was disappointed with her playing, she enjoyed the match.

“I was nervous… didn’t warm up enough… I kept missing my shots and hitting the net,” said Nicholson, but was quick to accept her mistakes and move on.

“But oh well. [Gallagher] played well,” said Nicolson. “It was fun.”

Besides the doubles, Nicholson also competed in both the U17 and U19 singles divisions, placing fourth and fifth, and having very little experience playing singles, she was pleased.

“All the matches were close, I didn’t get anihilated at all,” she said, adding that her highlight was surprising a U17 competitor with her ability to compete.

“There was one match where I was playing against someone who obviously trains for singles. Halfway through, her coach, you could see him getting stressed because I was ahead one point,” Nicholson said.

Prior to the match, Nicholson said she felt that the coach measured her up and concluded she’d be an easy win.

“He looked at me and thought that she would beat me easily,” said Nicholson, adding that she felt good to play a strong competitive game, and keep it close. She lost 19-21, and 16-21, but the competition was fun and Nicholson said it was her highlight of the tournament.

This North Central B.C. Badminton tournament is the only one Nicholson can compete in at her age, but she plays regularly all winter in the Terrace badminton drop-in.

“It’s my favourite sport,” she said.