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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Arcadia Weekly / Arcadia High Badminton perfect in route to third CIF title in 4 years

Arcadia High Badminton perfect in route to third CIF title in 4 years

by Staff
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For the third time in four years, the Arcadia High School Badminton team has won a CIF Championship. The Apaches beat Walnut High School 12-9 in the Open Division (the highest competitive level) final to take home the coveted title and complete a historic undefeated season with a perfect 22-0 record.

High school badminton is uniquely the only high school sport that is truly coed, where boys and girls compete against each other in the “mixed doubles” pairings. Even more unique to the Arcadia High School team and its quick ascent to success, is the fact that the team was formed just nine years ago in 2016 thanks to head Coach Mike Stiles. 

“Our first public meeting to gauge interest in forming a badminton team took place on Oct. 27, 2015. It was standing room only. I texted Ryan Press (athletic director at the time) with a photo of the packed room and said something to the effect that ‘this is a train you won’t be able to stop.’ We were approved by the District as a sport before Dec. 1,” Stiles recalled. 

Coach Stiles will be going out on top of his game, as he is retiring at the end of this season. 

Coach Stiles with the 2024 champion plaque. | Photo courtesy of AUSD

“I’m so appreciative of Coach Stiles and the opportunity he brought to so many of our student-athletes,” Arcadia Unified Superintendent Dr. David Vannasdall said. 

“The level of success is unreal, but the platform he provided for hundreds of students to showcase their incredible athletic ability is his well-earned legacy.” 

After its debut season, Arcadia High School joined the Almont League in 2017 where the Apaches won the league championship each year. Since the end of 2017, Arcadia High School has won a remarkable 116 straight regular season matches. In total, the Apaches’ overall record over the past nine seasons is 144-16. Three of those 16 losses are when Arcadia lost in the CIF Open Division Championship match, meaning the Apaches have three runner-up finishes to go along with its three championships. 

Stiles knew the San Gabriel Valley was a hotbed for badminton, and he also knew a thing or two about the sport himself. He won a championship as a player at Palm Springs High School in 1985. He went on to place runner-up in the CIF Individual playoffs in boys doubles to conclude his high school career in 1987. He also attended Claremont McKenna where he competed in the 1989 Collegiate Individual Championships. 

“As much as I would like to, I cannot take credit for our program’s success. Derrick Ng has been an indispensable part of the program from the beginning. James Wang joined the coaching staff in late 2017 and Leo Wong joined in late 2019. Their efforts have been instrumental in our success,” Stiles said. 

The CIF champs will now host the individual CIF championships in which several Apaches will be participating and hoping to take home additional accolades. While known as a very distinguished academic and visual and performing arts high school, Arcadia High School excels in athletics as well. All seven of its spring sports, led by badminton, won at least a share of its league championship this year. 

“I told the administration in 2016 that I would coach for three or four years to get the program established. I never could have imagined I’d be walking away nine years later with seven league titles and three CIF championships. The winning has been nice, but it’s not what I will miss the most. It’s the opportunity to impact the lives of our exceptional student-athletes that kept me going this long. That is undeniably what I will miss the most,” Stiles said.

The Stiles family: son Jackson (left), Mike (middle), wife Vicky (right). | Photo courtesy of AUSD

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