Saluting NCTTA Class of 2017

by Andy Kanengiser

NCTTA Media Chairman

Win or lose, Maria Daniela Castillo racked up many memorable moments as a University of Wisconsin-Madison table tennis player.

The 21-year-old native of Bucaramanga, Colombia hopes to shine at the NCTTA's national championships in early April.

No matter how things go, Maria Castillo and other members of the Class of 2017 will fight for every point at the games in Eau Claire, Wisconsin April 7-9.

"I absolutely love playing table tennis. I enjoy the sport and how challenging it is. But I also love meeting people from all around the world, different cultures and different cultures,'' Castillo says.

Her collegiate experience with the Olympic sport stretched from a few years at Lindenwood University in Missouri (starting in Fall 2013) before transferring to Wisconsin-Madison in Spring 2016.

 From performances with a diverse Lindenwood table tennis team with players from around the planet to solid showings on the Wisconsin women's team, it was all good.

"My top highlight from my NCTTA career is without a doubt the 2016 Nationals where we (Wisconsin-Madison)  got second in women's teams,'' she said. Maria Castillo joined forces with stellar Wisconsin teammates like Pamela Song, Joanna Zhang and Chen Sun.

Playing women's doubles with Pamela Song was truly the icing in the cake. The duo from Wisconsin- Madison finished 2nd to the mighty Texas Wesleyan University women's doubles team. Joanna Zhang achieved a third place finish  in women's singles at the 2016 tournament in Round Rock, Texas.

The four Wisconsin women, Maria said, "played really well in our matches, we fully supported each other at all times, and that was reflected in our results. I will never forget this tournament!.''

She's not all about playing table tennis with passion. 

Maria is a smart student who's double majoring in environmental sciences and environmental studies. After graduation, she plans to become a researcher in the environmental sciences and air quality field. She will tackle that for a year or two and apply to graduate school. So it's possible Castillo could be back in uniform at NCTTA tournaments in the future. That's because the Wisconsin senior studied abroad and didn't play in collegiate tournaments for one season to leave her with a year's eligibility.

Her table tennis career has literally taken Maria around the globe. She began playing at age 9, and by age 15 got 2nd place in a cadet women's singles Latin American tournament in Buenos Aires. She participated in singles and doubles at the World Table Tennis Championships in Rotterdam in 2011and Paris in 2013. Along her table tennis journey, Maria established many lasting friendships.

The 2017 TMS nationals in Eau Claire will be the final NCTTA tournament for Mississippi College senior Yichi Zhang. The bright computer science major and native of China remains the 2016 NCTTA men's singles champion. To make that happen, he defeated several table tennis stars, including teammates Cheng Li (who is also the MC coach) and Qing Wei Sun at the national championships near Austin, Texas.

Returning to Eau Claire one more time is extra special for Yichi Zhang. It's the same place in 2015 where Mississippi College upset longtime national champ Texas Wesleyan. The Rams stormed back to beat MC and win its phenomenal 12th national coed team championship in 2016. MC's team captured first place at the NCTTA's 2017 Regionals in Fort Worth, with Texas Wesleyan taking second. Expect MC and Texas Wesleyan to be slugging it out once again in Eau Claire.

Cornell University isn't seen as a big threat to national heavyweights like Texas Wesleyan, Mississippi College and Lindenwood. Still the Ivy League school will showcase one of its stars from the Ithaca, New York campus at the championships in Wisconsin.

He's 21-year-old Cornell senior Gideon Teitel of New York City. He's not just a guy slamming a hollow white ball and returning shots for glory. Gordon is interested in a career related to economics and finance. He's actively hunting jobs.

"Whatever I do next year, I will have to study for the GRE and LSAT,'' Gideon says. Whether it is grad school law school or a business career, Teitel will pack his paddle and play table tennis. There are plenty of great clubs for him to hone his skills in the New York City area. "I will continue playing table tennis and have my sights set on (a rating of) 2400.''

The 2017 NCTTA championships in Eau Claire will welcome a parade of other outstanding seniors. They include: Jeremy Lai, 21, a Duke neuroscience major from Hong Kong and Princeton standout Shirley Fu, 21, of British Columbia, Canada. California-Berkeley's Ellen Hwang, 22, of Thousand Oaks, California is one more on the list of table tennis standouts in the Class of 2017.

(Pictured here is Maria Castillo and doubles partner Pamela Song from last year's championship event)

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. 

About NCTTA

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

New Schools Brighten the College Table Tennis Landscape

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. 

About NCTTA

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

2017 Table Tennis Championships Boost Eau Claire

By Andy Kanengiser

NCTTA Media Chair

       Bringing about 300 of the best collegiate table tennis players in the USA and Canada to Eau Claire provides an economic boost to the city of 66,000 residents in Wisconsin.

       It's not like landing a huge automobile plant or attracting a pro sports franchise, but hosting the 2017 TMS collegiate table tennis championships helps Eau Claire.

       Ben Morgan, sports sales manager with Visit Eau Claire, breaks it down in terms of dollars and cents for the April 7-9 tournament. The bulk of the players, coaches, fans, and volunteers arrive April 6. They will stay in the city's hotels, eat at area restaurants, and visit the city's downtown, buy gas and go shopping before heading home.

        Measuring the tournament's economic impact, it adds up to $83,700 based on approximately 310 room nights from the early April tournament, Morgan says.

        The 2015 TMS national collegiate championships was also held at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus. So that event gave the city a nice shot in the arm from table tennis. It would be pretty similar to the dollars generated for the 2017 games,

        There are plenty of things to do for visitors away from the table tennis games. Families might want to sample the Action City/Chaos Waterpark, Morgan suggests. It includes arcade style games and an indoor water park along with a recently added trampoline park.

       Located along the Chippewa River, the city of Eau Claire sits 90 miles from Minneapolis-St. Paul. Its big selling point, of course, is the 11,000-student University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus. The school school competes in NCAA Division III in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Blugolds have captured 140 conference championships over the years.

         The west-central Wisconsin city's growing list of restaurants and night spots featuring live music are popular attractions year-round.

         Landing a national collegiate table tennis championship for the second time can't hurt as Eau Claire leaders seek to court other major sporting events and conventions.

        NCTTA President Willy Leparulo is impressed with the city's friendly leaders and cooperation of key people like Ben Morgan. The people in Eau Claire, he said "have been great. We enjoy working with them once again.''

      Morgan commends the work by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire team, particularly club president Alex Tollison, for his efforts to recruit tournament volunteers.

      Leparulo notes that volunteers are crucial to the success of the NCTTA tournament in Wisconsin.

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. 

About NCTTA

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

 

College TT March Madness- Check it out!

NCTTA has jumped on the March Madness band wagon and created yet again its own bracket challenge. The 2017 TMS College Table Tennis Championships has its own version of intrigue, anxiousness of who the victors will be and could be. Historically March and April are reserved for College Basketball, but we are excited to have our annual NCTTA Bracket Challenge. 

Predict the results of the 2017 TMS College Table Tennis Championships and win fabulous prizes! Contests are open to residents of the US and Canada! Play the 2017 NCTTA Bracket Challenge, it is completely free! 

Fans, spectators and players alike should take a look at the NCTTA Bracket Challenge as a good way to stay involved with the upcoming championships and a way to win some money and great prizes! 

TMS is offering up a 500 dollar 1st place prize; 2nd place 300 and 3rd place 100. Doublefish is offering its winners a Gross and ½ gross of tournament quality balls!

Keep up with NCTTA's live streaming this year on both facebook and youtube to see who is going to "bust your bracket" or keep it going. Go out on a limb, pick a lower seed and let the good times roll! 

Winners will be determined on or around 8:00pm Sunday April 9th and the challenge is open right now, but do your research and pick wisely!

http://nctta.org/champs/2017/bracketchallenge.html

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. 

About NCTTA

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

Minnesota Brings Diverse Table Tennis Team to Nationals

by Andy Kanengiser

NCTTA Media Chair

 

The Land of Ten Thousand Lakes, Minnesota is also proud of its rich table tennis landscape.

 

When the 2017 national championships roll around in early April, the University of Minnesota will again bring a pretty diverse team to the games in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

 

Two years ago, the Minnesota Gophers sent a nice mix of players from around the globe to the NCTTA competition on the same Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus. There were Minnesota players from Michigan, Minnesota, China, India, and Nepal.

In 2015, Minnesota table tennis player Kris Sabas remained focused on stepping up his game as a 30-year-old philosophy major on the Twin Cities campus. He began playing the sport as a nine-year-old.

 

These days, the Minnesota graduate is wrapping up his first season as the team's coach. The Minneapolis resident can't wait to see his Maroon and Gold team perform on the biggest collegiate table tennis stage in North America April 7-9.

 

"We have quite a diverse team,'' Sabas, 32, says. Players from around the planet blend well with homegrown talent from Minnesota and other nearby states.

Top male and female players on the Minnesota squad are Li Pu, a graduate student from China, and Yuliya Ryabova, a freshman from Kazakhstan.

 

"We pride ourselves on the depth and family-like environment of the club,'' Sabas says. "Even if we don't win the nationals, we certainly hope to have the most fun.''

There's nothing wrong with a little fun for the visiting Minnesotans.

 

 In 2015, the team consisted of splendid American players like Ben Kubesh of Austin, Minnesota, who excelled on the high school level in his native state. John Tranter, then a 40-year-old electrical engineering graduate student from Rolla, Michigan, was the team's elder statesman. Kubesh graduated, but Tranter remains actively involved with the team today.

 

While the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire team will play on its home court as the host school, Minnesota-Twin Cities sits only 90 minutes away. Enrolling nearly 49,000 students, Minnesota is a Big Ten School with a big heart for table tennis.

 

Minnesota is starting to become a table tennis hotbed with high school championships and competitive leagues. "Table tennis in Minnesota is growing and we are finally reverting back to having a team league'' that begins this spring, Sabas said. "We look forward to the competitive community we can create in Minnesota.''

 

Kris loves coaching the Minnesota team. But Kris also cherishes his full-time job at Nonin Medical. Year-round, he works hard in the business development group at the Minneapolis-based company. His career takes up quite a bit of his time.

But Sabas remains deeply committed to seeing the Minnesota team make some noise at the NCTTA championships in the Dairy State. He promises to return to coach the Gophers table tennis squad next season. "My plan is and will always be to be involved as long as they will allow me.''

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. 

About NCTTA

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

Wisconsin Eau Claire Enjoys Role as Host School

By Andy Kanengiser

NCTTA Media Chairman

     The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire family enjoys serving as the host school at the biggest collegiate table tennis tournament in North America.

     It's the same role that institution supporters relished two years ago as the school in northern Wisconsin hosted the championship games. The April 2015 event attracted about 300 of the best collegiate table tennis players in the USA and Canada.

     Students on the host team don't have far to travel in early April. They're packing their paddles and will give it their best shot. But really, they don't expect to pull off huge upsets against Texas Wesleyan University, Mississippi College, Lindenwood, McGill, and other mighty schools playing this fast-paced Olympic sport.

      Alex Tollison, 22, of Tomahawk, Wisconsin, is serving his 4th year as the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire president. He helped organize the national tournament in 2015, and will be in the thick of things as the 2017 version unfolds April 7-9.

     He's got more on his plate than table tennis. Alex looks forward to going to graduate school next summer at the Northwestern Chiropractic College in Bloomington, Minnesota. Yes, there is life after table tennis. But Alex, who's in his final semester, just wants to savor the moment as the championship games begin soon.

   Fans of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Bluegolds sports teams are also pumped as the table tennis action comes to their hometown. "We get a small taste of big competition when we play our divisional games against the University of Minnesota and Iowa. Both teams do well in Nationals and we have our hands full when we play them,'' Alex says.

       The competition in early April gets that much tougher for UW-Eau Claire against schools like perennial champ Texas Wesleyan of Fort Worth. "All that we look to do is play our game and try to have fun,'' Tollison says.

       Wisconsin-Eau Claire players include Connor Iaquinta, a criminal justice major from Franklin, Wisconsin. He's the team's top paddler. Others include No. 2 Lukas Carlson, a liberal arts illustration major from White Bear Lake, Minnesota and Jared Stone, an English major from Madison, Wisconsin, is considered the third best on the college squad.

        With a heavy focus on liberal arts and a strong School of Business, the U of Wisconsin at Eau Claire enrolls 11,000 students. Located 90 minutes from Minneapolis, the school showcases its beautiful campus. A scenic Wisconsin park ( Putnam Park) is located in the middle of campus. There are plenty of nearby restaurants in downtown Eau Claire to please people of all tastes and ages. Students are also pretty smart at Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Recently, some of them built an inexpensive and effective solar-powered water heater.

       The Wisconsin-Eau Claire students will be shine in other ways as hardworking volunteers to make the 2017 TMS college table tennis championships a success. Players will help with scorekeeping along with the grunt work: the setup and teardown of the venue on their campus.

       "We are extremely excited,'' Alex Tollison says. "We can't wait to hold this event again!.''

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. 

About NCTTA

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

Anastasiia Rybka Excels As Table Tennis Coach at Texas Wesleyan University

By Andy Kanengiser

NCTTA Media Chairman

First, Anastasiia Rybka showed off her amazing skills as a dynamic table tennis player at Texas Wesleyan University.

Coaches and teammates marveled at her abilities at tournaments on the Fort Worth campus and elsewhere. Game after game, her loops and smashes from both sides were impressive as the newcomer from the Ukraine immediately added strength to the perennial national champs.

During the 2016-17 NCTTA season, Rybka is proving to be a powerful addition to the mighty Texas Wesleyan squad as a coach. The season wraps up at the NCTTA’s 2017 championship games in Eau Claire, Wisconsin April 7-9.

A standout during her years as a Texas Wesleyan player, Jasna Rather heads the university’s table tennis program. She pours on the praise about Anastasiia’s smooth transition from player to coed team coach. Her presence at practices or during NCTTA tournaments has given the entire Rams team, both men and women, a boost. But really, her coaching career spans back to her days in the Ukraine. In 2013, she coached international athletes with hearing disabilities. In 2015, she was coaching USA para-athletes training for the Paraolympics in Rio in 2016.

“From the very beginning, Texas Wesleyan had plans to recruit Anastasiia as an athlete and coach,’’ Rather said. “We knew that her desire was to expand her knowledge in teaching styles so she can implement them in every day training and other educational assignments that she does. Anastasiia has been very valuable to the program as an athlete and as the coach.’’

Coming to Texas Wesleyan thousands of miles away from the Eastern European nation of Ukraine, Rybka also hit the books to pursue her master of education degree at Texas Wesleyan. She previously studied at the National University of Physical Education & Sport of the Ukraine.

With paddle in hand, the talented lefty easily made the switch from fabulous player to stellar coach in the Lone Star State. “She brought a fresh style into the program, which helped our growth,’’ Rather added.

That’s saying something because the Texas Wesleyan Rams squad captured a phenomenal twelve national team championships in table tennis, among many honors. Banners are hanging all over the Sid Richardson Center on the Fort Worth campus reflecting that success with many of the triumphs coming under Rather. The university is a virtual United Nations of table tennis with players from China, Brazil, Germany, the USA and many other countries.

Making the leap from player to coach seemed to be the right move for Rybka.

“Working with athletes who went to the Deaflympics changed by views on coaching,’’ Anastasiia said. “I realized what impact a coach has on athletes’ lives and their performances. From then, my goal was to become the best coach I can be and to use all possible opportunities to get great coaching training and needed experience.’’

Besides taking table tennis coaching classes and education courses, she’s been working with some pretty stellar coaches at Texas Wesleyan.

The group includes Jasna Rather, who’s in her 9th year as leader of the Texas Wesleyan University table tennis team. Then there’s Doru Gheorghe, head coach for the Rams women’s team beginning in May 2016. He is a former longtime head coach of the USA women’s national table tennis team. Another coaching heavyweight at Texas Wesleyan is Keith Evans. A native of Jamaica and former Jamaica Table Tennis Association national coach, Evans is a 20-year coaching veteran.

These role model coaches are quite an asset to have around for Anastasiia Rybka. Their teaching skills meshed well with Rybka’s qualities of hard work, patience and knowledge of the lively Olympic sport. It’s putting the table tennis standout on a path, she said, to “allow me to become one of the top coaches.’’

TopSpin Table Tennis club to Host NCTTA 2017 West Regionals

This weekend at the TopSpin Table Tennis club in San Jose, California hosts the NCTTA 2017 West Regional Championships. Schools will come to Northern California from all over the state, Oregon, Washington, the Rocky Mt States and even Canada via British Columbia! Don’t miss out on all of the fun and the event is being live streamed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsLyggT2LK0

College Table Tennis National Championship qualification is on the line with the top three men’s/coed teams qualify; top 2 women teams along with the top 8 men singles and top 4 women’s singles. The TMS 2017 National Collegiate Table Tennis Championships is NCTTA’s premier event and is the Super Bowl and World Cup of Collegiate Table Tennis rolled into one!

The West Region encompassing a number of US States and a Canadian Province contains some very strong contenders in all categories. Ryan Hsu, NCTTA West Regional Director says about the strongest schools, “Two very strong contenders from Northern California (Ohlone and UC Berkeley) have a bunch of very high level players.  Southern California schools are a little weaker than before, with USC (Ping Pong Posse) having lost its very strong players, but I believe UCLA may still be able to cause some upsets.”

Hsu continues, “We have 2 teams from the Northwest division this time, University of British Columbia and also University of Washington.  I don't think a non-Californian school has ever come close to winning at regionals, but I hope expect these schools to put a good fight.”

University of British Columbia could be considered the underdogs of the tournament and look to shake things up in terms of the “typical” standings within the region.  

Look for the incredible Men’s/Coed and Women’s Team table tennis rivalry between Ohlone College and Berkeley. Both schools feature very strong student athletes in each event.  They play in the same division during the regular season and traded beating each other by small margins in each of the tournaments. Regionals may be that special tie breaker.

Men’s and Women’s singles feature incredible athletes including Teddy Tran former USA Junior team member and a favorite to win the Men’s singles and Lily Zhang, 2016 US Olympic team player and also a favorite to lead her team in Women’s teams but also a favorite in Women’s Singles.

NCTTA West Regionals kicks off Saturday morning pacific time. Here is the schedule: https://sites.google.com/nctta.org/2017west/tournament-schedule?authuser=0

Pictured here is Ohlone College with special photo bomb from friendly rival UC Berkeley

Westchester Table Tennis club to Host NCTTA 2017 Northeast Regionals

This weekend at the Westchester Table Tennis club, is the NCTTA 2017 Northeast Regionals. These regionals will be a who’s who of Table Tennis stars from Colleges and Universities from New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts.  Don’t miss out on all of the fun and the event is being live streamed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9A-R5jxUmP0

College Table Tennis National Championship qualification is on the line with the top three men’s/coed teams qualify; top 2 women teams along with the top 8 men singles and top 4 women’s singles. The TMS 2017 National Collegiate Table Tennis Championships is NCTTA’s premier event and is the Super Bowl and World Cup of Collegiate Table Tennis rolled into one!

The Northeast Region will be played at “one of the premier table tennis clubs in New York states” says Northeast Regional Director, Ariel Chen. Westchester is certainly one of those kinds of facilities and will feature matches this weekend in Men’s/Coed, Women’s teams and Men’s and Women’s Singles.

The contenders from this region in the Men’s/Coed Team are Baruch College, SUNY Stonybrook and Brown University. Rahul Acharya, NCTTA’s NYC Downtown Division Director says, “Baruch is very strong with two 2500 players.”

Watch out for underdogs, New York Institute of Technology. NYIT is also brand new to NCTTA and could go far in this tournament.

Women’s Team table tennis, watch for NYU women’s team to take the competition as they have several 2000 level players.

Mandy Guannan Liu from Fashion Institute of Technology looks to repeat her play from last year and beat the competition, but she will have some competition from Northeastern’s Haiyan Wen.

Men’s singles will be equally fierce featuring a plethora of top level players from the Northeast. Baruch College’s Max Qinmin Wang leads the pack followed by newcomers NYIT’s Cheng Sheng.

NCTTA Northeast Regionals kicks off Saturday at 11am with women’s teams, followed by Coed teams and singles on Sunday morning.

Mandy Liu pictured here from Metro Sports Magazine

University of Iowa To Host NCTTA 2017 Midwest Regionals

This weekend at the University of Iowa, is the NCTTA 2017 Midwest Regionals. 12 schools and more than 60 College Table Tennis Student Athletes from Midwest states like (Missouri, Illinois, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, etc.) will pour into the University of Iowa campus to battle for the chance at school glory.  It will be live streamed too:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pZ4Y6AsF-U

College Table Tennis National Championship qualification is on the line with the top three men’s/coed teams qualify; top 2 women teams along with the top 8 men singles and top 4 women’s singles. The TMS 2017 National Collegiate Table Tennis Championships is NCTTA’s premier event and is the Super Bowl and World Cup of Collegiate Table Tennis rolled into one!

The Midwest Region features scholarship school and last year’s winner, Lindenwood University. Lindenwood remains a perennial powerhouse in the Midwest, but don’t count out some of the other schools who are looking to make some noise in this tournament! University of Minnesota is always strong and comes in as winners of the Minnesota division with some new players and new passion. Coach Kris Sabas, former Minnesota player expects “the U”,  as it is sometimes called, to surprise many!

University of Wisconsin-Madison is another favorite, led by Colombian International and former Lindenwood player, Maria Castillo! UW are winners of the Upper Midwest division by narrowly defeating Northwestern University.

Turning to men’s singles and women’s singles, we see a competitive draw on both sides with top men’s singles seed from University of Minnesota, Pu Li looking to bring home the title. On the women’s side, new faces combined with veterans make for a very interesting draw. Look for University of Illinois’ new woman player Yuikiu Wat to make a splash as the top seed of the tournament in this her first Collegiate Table Tennis season!

NCTTA Midwest Regionals starts on Saturday with Team play and finishes on Sunday with Singles. Click here for more information: https://sites.google.com/a/nctta.org/2017-midwest-regional-tournament/home

Pictured here is the University of Minnesota team at least year's Regionals with coach Kris Sabas (on left)

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