Above: The 36 Cole Middle School girls who participated in the 3/22/23 badminton tournament. Photo by Katie Cohen
March Madness takes on different meaning at Cole Middle School
The badminton tournament at Cole Middle School has been going on for so many years that chances are some parents of students there now were participants themselves. Physical education teacher Deb McMullen started the tournament with then-colleague Bob Crosby in 1993 and it remains McMullen’s “favorite day of the year.”
What started for just 8th graders is now for all Cole students – grades 6, 7 and 8. Every class runs a double elimination tournament with girls and boys, and comes out with champions that are then put in the school-wide bracket, McMullen explained. In sixth and seventh grade, just the class champions go to the tournament; for the eighth graders, the champion and runner-up are invited to participate, for a total of 36 boys and 36 girls.
“We also had 17 teachers including Principal Centracchio and Superintendent Ricca,” McMullen said. “I really love that it is a long-lasting tradition,” she said. Of course, Covid derailed the tournament in 2020 but it was back in 2021. “We had to be creative with all the restrictions but we got it done! In masks!”
“My favorite part is how supportive the students are of each other,” McMullen said. “I love how alumni remember their experience – most can name who they beat or lost to and the score!”
This year’s winners were Ella Cioe, Tate Coker-Dodman and teacher Mona McGillivray. The Final 4 were Maddie Asay (runner-up), Olive Willis, Chloe Hartman and Ella Cioe for the girls and Tripp Peterson (runner-up), Charles Marshall, Charlie Butterfield, and Tate Coker-Dodman for the boys. For the teachers, in addition to Mona McGillivray, it was Deb McMullen (runner-up), Grace Fitch and Brian Levesque.