By Michael Willhite
Paige Harris has been swinging a badminton racquet since she could walk. Harris, a business management major from Calgary, Alberta, grew up playing badminton at a high level. Unfortunately, the game is not as popular in the United States, and her playing opportunities ended when she came to BYU, Harris said.
Last year, as a freshman, she realized she missed training and competing. Because BYU doesn”t have a badminton team, her sister suggested she try out for the racquetball team, Harris said.
Despite only playing occasionally before trying out, Harris has made quite an impression on BYU racquetball coach Dennis Fisher.
“I”m amazed at how she”s adapting (from badminton),” Fisher said. “She”s such a good athlete. She”s going to do real well.”
Harris has already competed in one tournament, finishing second in the women”s ABC combined skill division. Fisher said her performance is very impressive. “Most people start in D division,” said Fisher, “she competed very well against higher skill players.”
Her father, who competed on the Canadian national badminton team, started all his kids playing badminton at an early age. Harris also trained at the National Training Center in her hometown of Calgary, and had some teammates that went on to compete in the Junior World Championships.
Harris competed in the Canadian badminton nationals four times, finishing as high as third place. She had high hopes of winning the national championship as a senior in high school, but suffered a severe knee injury in her first match. Harris had to rehabilitate her knee for six months, but according to Fisher, it hasn”t affected Harris” racquetball game.
Harris credits Fisher with helping her to learn the game and pushing her to train hard. “He is a crazy, crazy trainer,” Harris said. “He”s absolutely nuts.”