NCTTA Bids Farewell to Class of 2018

by Andy Kanengiser
NCTTA Media Chair
(Picture of Tina Wang, picture by Grant Bergmann)
   University of Texas senior Tina Wang is wrapping up her career as a Longhorns table tennis player.
    For Wang, 21, finishing the season as a player at the 2018 iSet national collegiate table tennis championships, is a terrific way to wrap things up.
    The Dallas area resident is surrounded by UT teammates and friends at the lively tournament at the Round Rock Sports Center in late April.
    Her final showing as a college player for the UT Longhorns on a national stage is bittersweet. There were many nice memories playing for Texas table tennis teams the past three years. But she and other members of the NCTTA Class of 2018 have big dreams ahead.
     A UT business major who graduates in May, Tina will move to McLean, Virginia where she will work in project management with the Capital One bank.
    A native of Taiwan who moved to the USA as a young girl, Wang played the Olympic sport for 11 years. If time permits, she will compete in Virginia and the DC area. The Allen, Texas resident brings much to the table on & off the court.
       But on Saturday afternoon, Tina was just happy to enjoy the moment with friends as she waited in the lunch line at the classy tournament sports complex. The Round Rock Sports Center is only a 15 minute ride fromn the UT campus at Austin. So there were plenty of UT-Austin fans roaming around to cheer the Longhorns.
      The UCLA Bruins fan base in the Lone Star State isn't nearly as strong. A table tennis standout for UCLA since he was a freshman four years ago, David Zeng, 22, is closing out his collegiate career in table tennis as a member of the Class of 2018.
     An environmental science major who grew up in inner city Oakland, California, Zeng is thinking ahead. After graduating from UCLA in June, he plans to move to Mexico to learn Spanish. Getting involved in efforts to protect the planet's environment and taking part in social causes are things on his post-UCLA agenda. And he wants to travel.
    David grew up playing table tennis with his parents in California, then honed his skills at an Oakland recreation center, starting as a 10-year-old. Table tennis, he said, "is a big part of my life.''
     Zeng joined his UCLA teammates at NCTTA national championships in Eau Claire, Wisconsin in 2015 and Round Rock in 2016. Then, it was back to Eau Claire in 2017, and finally Round Rock in 2018. Quite a run for David Zeng and his UCLA teammate, senior Nathaniel Chu, 21, a computer science major from Milpitas, California. David Zeng served as the UCLA club president this year.
      NCTTA leaders extend their best wishes to others in the Class of 2018, including Lindenwood University senior Jake Arciniega.  The 29-year-old Traverse City, Michigan native played for the first time at the NCTTA Nationals this month.
       An interactive media and web design major on the Saint Charles, Missouri campus, Jake graduates from Lindenwood on May 5. Once the tournament ends Sunday, he turns his focus to a bunch of job interviews next wek. The four-year Lindenwood player should be an asset to the competive and creative world of web design.
        Summing up his college table tennis days on the powerhouse Lindenwood Lions team, Jake says he loved competing with "a cool and good group of guys. I learned a lot. It's been a great experience.'' Lindenwood's coed team is diverse with players from Guyana, Brazil, Nepal, China and the USA.
      Jarol Duerksen and his wife, Leah, who run the NCTTA practice tables at tournaments each year, say they will miss the soon-to-be college grads. The Iowa City couple hopes the players stay involved as NCTTA volunteers down the road.
         Graduation is coming soon for two hard-working University of Minnesota table tennis veterans. Head coach John Tranter says it's been amazing to see two graduate students compete on the talented squad and work on their doctorates.
        But that's what Minnesota players Gautham Gampa and Pin-Kaung Lai did. A native of Hyderabad, India, Gampa, 25, is working on a degree in pharmaceutics. A native of Taipei,Taiwan, Lai, 29, is seeking his degree in chemical engineering at the school in Minneapolis.
       NCTTA President Willy Leparulo is delighted to see all 276 players from schools in the USA & Canada compete at the April 20-22 championships.
      "But we especially want to thank the Class of 2018 as graduation day nears. Congrats and best wishes ahead to these stellar student-athletes,'' Leparulo said. "Doors will always be open to our grads to serve as NCTTA volunteers in future years.''

The 2018 iSET College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and the Round Rock CVB and is one of the premier table tennis tournaments in North America featuring 6 events: Men’s and Women’s Singles and Doubles, and Men’s/Coed Teams, Women’s Teams.  The event is sponsored by iSET, Double Happiness, Gerflor, Double Fish and USA Table Tennis

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the iSET College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 20th and continues through Sunday April 22nd.


The National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA) is a non-profit organization established exclusively for promoting the sport of table tennis at the college level. As the national governing body for college table tennis in the United States and Canada, NCTTA organizes intercollegiate competition throughout North America.

About USA Table Tennis

Headquartered in Colorado Springs, USATT is the national organizing body for table tennis in the United States, serving 9,000+ members and nearly 300 clubs. USATT sanctions 200+ events a year including the US Open and US Nationals. USATT is affiliated with the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), as well as the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).