By Christian Horta
Only one badminton player at East Los Angeles College is hispanic and she wants to make the team more diverse.
Bianca Ortega is the only badminton team player that isn’t asian, which makes her feel slightly isolated.
“I’m not super best friends with everyone. I’d say it’s in the middle since I really don’t share any classes with them, I only see them during practice,” said Ortega.
Ortega balances her academic life with sports.
Ortega became interested in badminton after her biology classmate, Chinh Chu Lai, who is currently ELAC’s number one ranked player and captain, introduced her.
Since Ortega is a Science Technology Engineering Mathematics major, she does not have a lot of time for extracurricular activities, but found badminton to balance out perfectly with her academic life. “It’s fun, it isn’t anything super hardcore, it isn’t draining like track is, or other sports that demand all your time,” said Ortega.
She currently attends badminton practice twice a week. Prior to joining badminton at ELAC, Ortega was part of the track team at Garfield High School. Ortega has been part of the badminton team since the winter semester.
Ortega says she will try to recruit more of her peers for the Badminton team for next year, since some of the current players will soon transfer out. “I’m just going to reach out to girls I know, or girls who are in my classes.”
She does not have a plan as to how she will recruit, but is confident that people will want to join.
Ortega did not think she would be a part of the team because academic demand.
“I didn’t think I was going to be a good fit for badminton, but I figured it was worth a try. What could it hurt to try something new?” said Ortega.
She has played three games so far this season, and plans to make improvements throughout. “Friday will be our fourth game, and we plan to get revenge,” said Ortega.
Lately the ELAC badminton team has gone through a few consecutive losses; however, Ortega remains optimistic that they will succeed. “It makes me a little sad because nobody likes to lose, but it motivates me to want to win and to want to do better. Losing doesn’t scare us,” Ortega said.
Head coach Qui Nguy also has confidence in his team. These past few losses are learning experience for his players. “It is not all about winning, but practice makes perfect. At the end of the day, it is all about getting along with each other,” said Nguy.
This season has mostly freshman, except for Lai, who is the team leader. The coach also mentioned that the team works together in order to guide each other.
“Players work with their partner to practice what they need to improve,” said Nguy.
Ortega specified that she plans to continue next year as well, and plans to make her way up to team captain.
Badminton’s next game is Friday at Pasadena City College.