Lansdowne junior Daniel Bawi is playing No. 1 singles for the boys and sophomore Maisha Camonayan is playing No. 1 for the girls for the new Viking badminton team. (Staff photo by Jen Rynda / September 19, 2012)

Although the 10 players on the Lansdowne High badminton team haven't won a game yet, they will always be remembered as the ones who helped coach Tyler Martin restart the program.

Martin, the Vikings' varsity lacrosse coach, had been bugging athletic director Todd Hawkins for years to restore the program to varsity status.

"I'm trying to offer every level of every sport, which we have now, and that is fantastic," said Hawkins, noting the school also added allied soccer this fall.

Hawkins said its has been at least 20 or more years since the Vikings boasted a badminton team.

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Juniors Daniel Bawi, Darwin Interiano and Jesse Lovelace, sophomores Maisha Camonayan, Tara Gillespie, La'Erica Smith, Miranda Tyler and Terea Williams and freshmen Morgan Dampier and Mahidul Islam are the 10 new pioneers.

Bawi plays No. 1 boys singles and nearly came away with victory in a season-opening 9-2 loss to Owings Mills.

He lost the first of the best-of-three match, 15-0, rallied to win the second game, 17-16, and fell, 17-15, in the final game.

"I couldn't count the scores yet, so I really didn't know what the score was until I lost," said Bawi, who moved to Lansdowne from his native Burma at age 13. "Now, I'm starting to count the scores, so it is getting easier for me."

Bawi, who also played varsity tennis, has improved his game by watching the Internet.

"I go to You Tube and look at the skills that I need, like back shots and the jump smash," Bawi said.. "I often ask my coach what kind of skills are going to be good for me."

Smashing, jump smashes and drop shots are his favorite strokes and why he prefers badminton to tennis.

"Daniel is new to badminton, but he's very talented and athletic, and he's a sponge," Martin said. "He goes on You Tube and looks up different shots that I've never seen before. He brings them in and, as a (physical education) teacher, I can help him break them down bio-mechanically, and teach him to do them."

Martin is pleased with the progress of Bawi, No. 2 boys singles player Islam and No. 3 Dampier.

"Our boys are very close to getting their first singles wins," Martin said. "I feel like Daniel could step on the court with any No. 1 and give them a run, if not beat them."

The fourth boy on the squad, Interiano, plays mixed doubles with Tyler.

No. 1 girls singles Camonayan and No. 3 girls singles Smith are the only ones to have won a match, beating rivals from Owings Mills.

No. 2 girls Gillespie and the girls doubles team of Williams and Lovelace fill out the roster.

The squad has had some obstacles to overcome.

Normally, the team plays away when the volleyball team is home, but the Lansdowne badminton team assumed the schedule of Kenwood after that school dropped its program.

"We didn't even know our full schedule until yesterday (Sept. 19)," Martin said.