By Willy Leparulo
NCTTA Championship Committee
Each year brings new hopes for new titles and for some schools a new experience. There are several schools coming to the 2017 TMS College Table Tennis Championships for the first time this year. These college table tennis rookies are just as hungry as our seasoned veterans and shouldn’t be taken lightly just because this is their first trip to the grand stage.
New York Institute of Technology, primarily situated in New York City but with campuses in China, Canada and Dubai, has created a club this year and qualified for the Championships. Team captain and leader Dawei Luo was excited to hear about the invitation to the Championships, “Half of our team is graduating this semester, so this is great to see. We started the club in September and believed we can make it to nationals.”
Players and teams should not discount NYIT because they have experience internationally, Luo says, “Two of us were trained by coaches and we are national second-level athletes (in China).” NYIT is seeded #18 out of 24 and could surprise many!
Another little known school in College Table Tennis, but famous in academic circles is the College of William and Mary. The College of William and Mary table tennis club was established around 2011 and relatively new but in that period of time had never qualified for any kind of post season play as a team. This year however would be different, Ruhao “Tony” Tang is the coach of William and Mary and says “It is very exciting for us to make the nationals tournament for the first time. We seriously thought we weren’t going to make it this year.”
They are a very active club in social media featuring Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and their own website! Kudos to them. They are pictured here in this article.
Surprises come in different ways it seems for William and Mary. Tang says “two of our players were recovering from injury and were replaced by our newcomers.” Their team consists of a diverse collection of students: two from China, one from France and an American. This falls in line a bit with the College Table Tennis status quo.
Tang tells us of the NCTTA experience, “It’s really different than playing for yourself, because when you have a whole team behind you and cheering for you, I feel more excited and more pumped for the matches, which makes the memories ever more lasting.”
NCTTA covers USA and Canada and it wouldn’t be a College Table Tennis Championships without a Canadian University represented! This year it is a school that has never attended the championships, University of British Columbia out of beautiful Vancouver!
Team Captain of UBC, Michelle Liu states, “All the athletes on our team are from Vancouver and played together on our provincial team.” For those that don’t know the terminology, provincial teams in Canada are quite competitive and attracting Olympic talent many times.
Liu says their goal was to make it to the Championships, “We put in a lot of effort and planning, held the largest tryouts ever and we implemented biweekly training sessions.”
The training sessions and new attitude have done something since UBC women’s team is seeded #5 and the Men’s/Coed team (featuring 3 of the women’s team players) is seeded #19. Watch out College Table Tennis, both teams are poised for their first collegiate table tennis championships!
They may be the “new kids on the block” but one shouldn’t be taking them lightly. They are ready to compete as we say in NCTTA #loudnproud
The 2017 TMS College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and the Eau Claire 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 TMS International, Gerflor, Double Fish
Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 7th and continues through Sunday April 9th.
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. www.nctta.org
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). www.usatt.org