Bellevue Badminton club players Willam Hu, left, and Jacob Zhang, right, captured first place in their divisions at the 2019 Junior National Championships in Frisco, Texas. The players were coached by Derrick Ng, center. Shaun Scott/staff photo

Bellevue Badminton club players Willam Hu, left, and Jacob Zhang, right, captured first place in their divisions at the 2019 Junior National Championships in Frisco, Texas. The players were coached by Derrick Ng, center. Shaun Scott/staff photo

Bellevue duo dominates at national championships

William Hu and Jacob Zhang earn first-place finishes in respective divisions.

A trip to Texas in July resulted in two coveted first-place finishes for Bellevue Badminton Club stars William Hu and Jacob Zhang.

Zhang, who graduated from Interlake High School this past June, captured first place in the U19 boys singles tournament at the 2019 Junior National Championships in Frisco, Texas. Hu, who will be a senior at Newport High School during the 2019-20 school year, earned first place in the U19 mixed doubles tournament at the Junior National Championships as well.

Hu was thrilled to reach the pinnacle on the national stage.

“It was very amazing. I could finally see something that I have physically earned, a physical medal as opposed to working hard every day and not really seeing anything,” Hu said of earning a first-place medallion.

Zhang echoed Hu’s sentiment.

“It is one of those things that you always aim for. When it happened, I was still kind of in shock. I thought, ‘Did this actually happen?’ I was just going match by match. I wasn’t really thinking about winning it all,” Zhang said.

Bellevue Badminton Club coach Derrick Ng, who has coached both players for the past two seasons, believes both players bring a unique skill-set to the court.

“Jacob is definitely a smart player. He is very good at being patient, setting up the play and finishing it off with a big smash. William is more of a wild player and he gets things back (over the net) that people don’t expect. He is more of a wildcard,” Ng said of Hu. “He moves fast and gets to things you don’t expect.”

The Hu/Zhang duo has known each other since childhood. They practice two to three hours per day, four to five days a week to hone their skills. Ng said practice sessions as of late have focused on speed and control.

“When you have a lot of speed, you lose control and sometimes if you have too much control, you are too slow. It is a matter of combining the two,” Ng said.

Hu believes Ng’s knowledge of the sport significantly impacted both of their games on the court.

“He (Ng) was ranked very high in the world. He had a lot to teach us when we first started learning from him. He taught both of us a lot of new things that we didn’t know previously,” Hu said.

Zhang felt immense pride knowing that two athletes from Washington rose to the occasion on the grand stage.

“It really is a dream come true. We started out when we were both really little and when we would see players from California, we thought, ‘Oh, no,’” Zhang said of childhood. “Now being able to go there and sort of take down that pedestal has definitely been very fulfilling. I’m definitely not the most athletic or the strongest physically but I have played badminton for 10 years and have built up an institution and understanding of the game.”

Earlier this season, Hu and Zhang also captured the 2019 Junior International Trial champions, which qualified them for a spot on Team USA at the 2019 BWF Junior Mixed Team Championships in Kazan, Russia from Sept. 30 through Oct. 13.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Sports

The WIAA announced Wednesday that if schools reopen at the conclusion of the six-week statewide shutdown ordered last week by Gov. Jay Inslee, then the state championships will go on as planned. (WIAA photo)
WIAA still hoping to hold state championships in May

But if the school shutdown extends past April 24, those championships could be in jeopardy.

Vikings earn all-league honors on the basketball court

Both boys and girls Bellevue Christian basketball teams were well represented on… Continue reading

Vikings end season at the SunDome

The Bellevue Christian boys lose to Meridian in the 1A state basketball tournament in Yakima.

Games are being postponed in response to coronavirus outbreak

In response to the recent coronavirus outbreak, Eastside schools are taking precautions… Continue reading

Hardwood Classic tips off after coronavirus outbreak

By Benjamin Olson and Andy Nystrom Basketball players took to the court… Continue reading

Relay teams guide Sammamish to boys swim and dive state title

The Totems won the 2A state title for the first time in program history.

Reporter file photo
No changes to state basketball tournament schedules after coronavirus outbreak

State boys and girls basketball Hardwood Classic tournaments in Tacoma, Yakima and… Continue reading

Most school events, including sports practices, on schedule after coronavirus outbreak

All the school districts in the Reporter’s coverage areas — Northshore, Lake… Continue reading

Griswold gives one last performance at state

Sammamish gymnast Sydney Griswold competed at state for the fourth and final time.

Vikings ready to tip off at the SunDome

The Bellevue Christian boys basketball team is competing at the 1A state tournament in Yakima.

Bellevue girls soccer trio named to All-State first team

Bellevue girls soccer standouts Paige Satterlee (senior midfielder), Courtney Serres (senior midfielder)… Continue reading

Wolverines’ postseason run ended by Panthers

The Bellevue boys basketball team lost 54-45 to Seattle Prep in a district tournament game.