Random Round Rocker: Gideon Teitel

By Brent Hearn

What makes the TMS College Table Tennis National Championships so special is the people. The players, the coaches, the spectators and the volunteers are all doing their part to make this event a success. That’s why we’re doing a series that focuses specifically on those who are doing their part to make this year’s event special.

For our last profile, we focused on a volunteer. Our next Random Round Rocker is a player, 20-year-old Cornell student Gideon Teitel. Gideon is a junior majoring in industrial labor relations and minoring in economics.

How many times have you been to Nationals?

First year.

What are your thoughts on the tournament thus far?

I think it’s incredible. Very well run, perfect conditions...the players are excellent. (I’ve) been playing with...all different kinds of players. I’m not in the team event; I’m in the individual event. So I knew that I would get knocked out… but the point is to play with a lot of people…

It’s great because they have, like, 20-plus tables in the practice area. (Writer’s note: There are actually 18 practice tables, but close enough.) So I’m always playing with people.

Are you the only player here from Cornell?

One other: my friend Kevin Li. We played doubles, too.

What’s your favorite thing about table tennis?

It’s just the feeling when you make a perfect shot—when you do what you’re trying to do. When you execute on your plan, there’s nothing like it.

If you could pick any celebrity to play table tennis with, who would it be?

Maybe somebody like Paul Krugman or some sort of—he’s not really a celebrity. I was thinking of a famous economist, but I would say him because I would maybe establish a rapport with him and since I’m interested in economics, it could lead to something further.

What’s something interesting about you that would fascinate the table tennis world?

I thought that taking cold showers would be good for my life, so I did that for, like, a year and a half. But...it really had no benefits and I was just being masochistic. I stopped doing that and nothing has changed. I read online that it’s supposed to boost your testosterone and do all this other stuff, but it’s all nonsense. It just made me procrastinate having showers.

Thanks so much to Gideon for taking the time to speak to us! We hope you’re enjoying the rest of your tournament—and your warm showers.

The 2016 TMS 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 TMS International, Gerflor, Double Fish, and Joola.

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday March 25th and continues through Sunday March 27th at the Round Rock Sports Center

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

Mississippi College Star Yi Chi Zhang Captures Singles Title

By Andy Kanengiser

NCTTA Media Chairman

After three years of coming close, Mississippi College's Yi Chi Zhang finally paddled his way to the peak of his table tennis game as the 2016 men's singles champion.

The triumph happened Saturday evening at the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association's championship games in Round Rock, Texas.

A 22-year-old native of China, Zhang defeated other strong NCTTA opponents, including two potent Mississippi College teammates in the semi-finals and finals.

Zhang edged MC Coach & Captain Cheng Li in the weekend tournament as fans in the huge arena watched a barrage of long volleys between the two competitors. It was a rematch of their showdown at the 2014 national championships near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Back then,Li emerged as the No. 1 men's collegiate singles player among schools across the USA and Canada.

On Saturday, Li knocked off Texas Wesleyan standout Emil Santos of the Dominican Republic to set up the return match with Yi Chi Zhang.

This time, their semi-final match was tied at three games apiece with Zhang winning the finale.

The victory over Li opened the door for Zhang to defeat MC freshman sensation Qing Wei Sun in four straight games.

Playing two Mississippi College teammates back to back was a bit of an awkward situation for the new singles champ even though they have all squared off in practices on the Clinton campus all season.

 "They all are my friends,'' Yi Chi Zhang told NCTTA commentator Bryan Song in a post-game interview captured by live streaming cameras. All four members of the mighty Mississippi College team (including Tong Zhang) are natives of China.

Moments later, Coach Li offered his congrats to Zhang, a computer science major who thrives on an awesome backhand.

Later that evening, Li, Zhang, Sun & others in the MC table tennis family enjoyed the fellowship, speeches & awards presentations at the NCTTA's annual banquet at a Round Rock hotel.

Last April, the MC Choctaws beat 11-time champion Texas Wesleyan at the 2015 NCTTA games in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The two collegiate powerhouses are likely to battle again as the three-day tournament closes out the season on March 27.

 

The 2016 TMS 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 TMS International, Gerflor, Double Fish, and Joola.

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday March 25th and continues through Sunday March 27th at the Round Rock Sports Center

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

NCTTA Salutes Women in Class of 2016

By Andy Kanengiser

NCTTA Media Chairman
 
The Class of 2016 includes extraordinary women sparking their table tennis teams at colleges stretching from New York to California and as far north as Canada.
 
"Table tennis is in my blood,'' said New York University senior Xialing Qiang. For the 24-year-old  native of Sichuan, China, the 2016 NCTTA championships closes out her collegiate career playing this fast-paced Olympic sport. "I will never give up table tennis.''
 
A sports business major, Xialing plans to stay one more year in New York and hunt for a job. Playing table tennis for a powerful NYU team the past two seasons, she said, was a "fantastic'' experience, one she will never forget. "Everybody is supporting each other.''
 
The native of China began playing the sport as a six-year-old and refuses to retire her paddle.
 
A total of five NYU women will compete in their final college games at the Round Rock Sports Center on Sunday.
 
Playing at this beautiful sports venue near Austin is a memorable way to close things out. "I'm trying to enjoy it. Round Rock was the best,'' from its superb facilities to its welcoming environment for table tennis, says 22-year-old NYU senior Janice Ho.
 
A Clinton, New Jersey resident, Janice played in NCTTA championship tournaments during her four years at NYU. Besides Texas, she traveled with NYU teammates to national tournaments in Rockford, Illinois in 2013, Monroeville, Pennsylvania in 2014, and Eau Claire, Wisconsin in 2015.
 
After her NYU graduation in May, going to work is what's next on the agenda for the bright accounting and marketing major.
 
Others wrapping up their NYU table tennis playing days this weekend in the Lone Star State are: Michelle Leung of Hong Kong, Lisa Kim of Seoul, South Korea and Claire Bai of Beijing, China.
 
At the NCTTA tournament, players like Jasmine Nguyen, 22, of the University of California-Berkeley say they look forward to graduation in May. But they're not ready to quit the game they love. "It's really sad that it's ending. I wish I could spend more than four years at the collegiate level.''
 
A resident of Anaheim, California, the integrative biology major plans to work for a year, then prepare for the rigors of medical school. Jasmine will consider a medical career in cardiology or radiology. After playing table tennis for ten years, she's not quite ready to give it up. "I will still play, hopefully, while I'm in medical school.''
 
And serving as an NCTTA volunteeer is another option she may pursue next season.
 
Unexpected circumstances at the family's residence led Jasmine to switch her game from tennis to table tennis.
       
A major pipe leak at their California home caused extensive water damage years ago, Nguyen recalled as games continued in Round Rock Saturday. Almost "everything was destroyed, except for the ping pong table.''

The 2016 TMS 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 TMS International, Gerflor, Double Fish, and Joola.

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday March 25th and continues through Sunday March 27th at the Round Rock Sports Center

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

 

Ohlone's Ying Wang Takes Women's Singles Title

Pictured above is Ying Wang accepting her award from NCTTA's Kevin Li and Sam Huang

By Brent Hearn

The women’s singles final pit two of the dominant players of the tournament against one another: Ohlone College’s Ying Wang and Texas Wesleyan University’s Anastasia Rybka.

Wang served first and took the first three points. Rybka was able to claw her way back into the game, but it wasn’t enough, and she dropped the first game 9-11.

Game Two started off in similar fashion and then some. Wang jumped to a 4-0 lead this time, leaving Rybka a deep hole to dig her way out of. Rybka’s shots were finding their way into the net far too often, though, and Wang simply refused to make mistakes. Wang took the second game 11-3.

Game Three began as a replay of the second, with Wang again taking a 4-0 lead. Just as in Game One, however, Rybka was able to will herself back into the match, tying up the score at 6-6. She was able to up the quality and consistency of her play, and the two were locked into a dead heat, staying within a point of each other until Wang pulled ahead 10-8. Wang took the game 11-9, and Rybka had a monumental task ahead of her if she wanted to salvage her shot at the title.

Rybka clearly wasn’t going to give up easily; the fourth game was the first that saw her open with the lead. At 5-5, neither woman wanted to give ground. Rybka ratcheted up her level of aggression, and it paid dividends. In no time, the two players found themselves in a dogfight, with Rybka pulling ahead, only to see Wang catch up.

Wang had match point at 10-9, but Rybka answered with two straight points to gain her first game point. Wang got it back to deuce, and then it was point for point. Rybka took the game 14-12 to avoid the sweep. 

Wang served to start Game Five, and the two players split her serve. Rybka had found her rhythm and clearly had no intention of going softly. Wang wasn’t about to let up, though, and Rybka soon found herself at a 6-2 disadvantage.

Rybka managed to take three more points off Wang, but Wang grabbed what she came for and took the game, the match, and the championship with an 11-5 score in the fifth. Though she gave a champion’s effort in the latter part of the match, Rybka just could not find a way to overcome Wang’s rock-solid play. The final score was 11-9, 11-3, 11-9, 12-14, 11-5. Congratulations to our NEW Women's Singles Champion in a well deserved win.

The 2016 TMS 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 TMS International, Gerflor, Double Fish, and Joola.

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday March 25th and continues through Sunday March 27th at the Round Rock Sports Center

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

Kevin Korb Puts Spin on Table Tennis Action

By Andy Kanengiser

NCTTA Media Chairman
 
A Silicon Valley table tennis icon, Kevin Korb brought his unique brand as a sage commentator to the NCTTA's biggest tournament of the year.
 
No longer the flashy Southern California player with colorful socks that never match, Korb, 20, brings solid credentials as the owner of the Top Spin table tennis club in San Jose.
 
It's a growing table tennis club with 200 members and a real hotbed for table tennis fans in high-tech Northern California. Kevin's job is to expand the club in his hometown. Attracting more players, young and old alike, and adding staff, are on his to-do list this spring and summer. He took over the reins of the club less than a year ago.
 
There are other changes ahead in Kevin Korb's life.
 
Next fall, the 20-year-old Tennessee native plans to rejoin the mighty USC Trojans squad on the Los Angeles campus. At the same time, Kevin will work towards completing his bachelor's degree.
 
People tuning to live streaming coverage of the 2016 TMS National Collegiate Table Tennis Championships this weekend heard Korb drop pearls of wisdom about his favorite Olympic sport. He's up to speed on its players, schools, sponsors, statistics and the diversity of table tennis worldwide.
 
Hollywood celebrities promoting the fast-paced game, including actress Susan Sarandon, owner of the Spin Club in New York City, are on his mind, too. Best known for starring in science fiction movies like "The Terminator,'' Arnold Schwarzenegger is another celeb on fire for table tennis. The former California governor sponsors tournaments like the Arnold Challenge.
 
Super Bowl winning quarterback Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos filmed a TV commercial recently showing him losing a game of table tennis to a young kid. Manning complained and called the kid's winning slam a "lucky shot.''
 
As players from schools like Lindenwood, Mississippi College, Texas, Iowa, and California battled for points at the Round Rock Sports Facility, Kevin gets pumped about what he sees as solid uptick for his go-to sport.
 
It's happening around the USA and Canada during a 21st Century era he terms "the New Age of Table Tennis.'' And the sport's rise in popularity is evident at the NCTTA's championship games in late March. "At the college level, it's gone up a ton.''
 
Players like Peter Li of California, Ying Wang of Ohlone College, Jishan Liang of Texas Wesleyan and Qing Wei Sun of Mississippi College are among the contingent of 250 collegians wowing fans here. Their inspiring performances give NCTTA's team of guest commentators like Korb and Joseph Wells something to talk about. The Californian also conducted many of the post-game interviews with star players.
 
At the games played on near Austin, Kevin saluted the progress of women to enhance the sport on their campuses. He estimated that at least 25 of the women competing in Round Rock have ratings exceeding 1900. 
 
In the future, Korb hopes to focus on ways to encourage more of America's 19 million recreational table tennis players to take the sport more seriously. There are fewer than 10,000 U.S. Table Tennis Association members, reports show.
 
While the USA isn't China where table tennis is king, there's always somebody around who wants to pick up a paddle and play.
 
What's Kevin's own table tennis rating? It stands at a solid 2,150. But as far as promoting table tennis, Kevin Korb's rating really goes through the roof!
 

The 2016 TMS 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 TMS International, Gerflor, Double Fish, and Joola.

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday March 25th and continues through Sunday March 27th at the Round Rock Sports Center

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

Ohlone Standout Chops His Way to Success

By Brent Hearn

If you’re a fan of jumbo table tennis (apparently, some folks just call it “tennis”) and you’re of a certain age, you may remember a player in the 80s and 90s named Michael Chang. Quiet of demeanor and diminutive of stature, he was the polar opposite, personality-wise, of many of the talented, boisterous players he squared up against. McEnroe and Connors, while in the twilight of their respective careers, were still around, raging and bellowing (and winning). Andre Agassi, the new breed of “bad boy,” was in danger of having his hair, his loud outfits and his celebrity overshadow his accomplishments. And there was Chang, who was the antithesis of “in your face.” At first glance, if you didn’t know anything about him, you’d be tempted to underestimate him.

That is, until you tried to get a ball past him.

To say he was quick would be an understatement. His success (he was ranked as high as #2 in the world) was propelled by his never-say-die attitude and by tree-trunk-sized pistons he called legs that gave him a near superhuman ability to chase opponents’ balls down. He just kept...getting...shots...back. Playing Chang was like playing a backboard, and the frustration of having their best shots repeatedly get run down was exasperating to his competition.

Sound familiar to any of you? It is if you’re a table tennis player who has ever played against a talented chopper. Competing against a player with an advanced defensive game takes its physical toll, as the points are typically longer—if they’re not, you’re probably getting slaughtered—and you’re having to exert yourself much more than usual. But it also takes a psychological toll, as well. There are few things more demoralizing to an aggressive player than going to war against a defensive wizard who takes all the heat you had to offer and just...keeps...pushing...it...back.

Enter 23-year-old Ohlone College team member Donglong Hao. If you’ve watched him play—or if you’ve played against him—you’ve seen first-hand the difficulties one faces when matched up against a skilled chopper. His defensive tendencies make him an outlier among his peers, most of whom employ an attacking style.

Hao took the offensive approach at first, as well. But when his coach at the time noticed his physical style and his propensity to play from long range, it marked the beginning of a new era in Hao’s game.

“I’ve been training the chopper (style) for six or seven years,” said Hao. “When I first started, I played attack for three years. My beginners’ coach used the chopper style, so that’s how I changed….”

Like any chopper worth his, well...chops, Hao knows how to switch it up when necessary. He goes on the offensive when it suits him, which keeps his opponents on their heels. You’re not likely to find Hao on his, though.

“I like running,” he said.  And run he does. According to Hao, his height makes it necessary to take two steps for every one of his taller opponents’.

Hao’s goals for this year’s Championships are much like he is: focused and devoid of pretense.

“The first one is do my best,” he said. “And I want to help my team get in the final.”

The interview for this story was conducted with translation assistance from Ohlone coach Yong Gao. While some quotes were paraphrased for the sake of readability, the writer attempted to maintain the integrity of their meaning.

The 2016 TMS 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 TMS International, Gerflor, Double Fish, and Joola.

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday March 25th and continues through Sunday March 27th at the Round Rock Sports Center

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

Recruiting College Table Tennis Players to New York City

By Andy Kanengiser
NCTTA Media Chairman
 
Broadway shows, the Museum of Natural History, Yankees baseball games, opera and much more makes New York City a must-see cultural oasis for visitors around the globe.
 
With a Spin club just minutes away in the heart of NYC, and a nice Nison practice facility nearby in Brooklyn, the Big Apple remains a pretty easy sell to recruit outstanding table tennis players to college campuses.
 
Just ask Baruch College table tennis standout Sean Reddy, a resident of Elmhurst, New York. The 21-year-old grew up in the Borough of Queens and digs all the attractions in the City that Never Sleeps.
 
By attending a school like 18,000-student Baruch College or eyeing the view from a tall skyscraper, "you can see everything New York City has to offer,'' Reddy said.
 
The easy sales pitch to attract talented table tennis players to Baruch College is one of the reasons the Bearcats are making their first appearance at the NCTTA national championships. The games in Round Rock, Texas March 25-27 drew over 250 outstanding college players from across the USA and Canada.
 
Packing their paddles, the New Yorkers arrived in the Lone Star State as the No. 2 ranked coed team in the nation.
 
Part of the City University of New York, Baruch College is among a number of excellent schools in the area. New York University and the Ivy League's Columbia University are two other strong NYC teams making noise at the tournament near Austin.
 
In its first season, Baruch isn't expected to bring home the championship trophy. But that's okay. The seven-member team fared very well in year one. Students at the school at Lexington at 24th Street have much to be proud of.
 
"We will be back next year,'' Reddy said over breakfast Saturday morning with teammates at the Holiday Inn. "We had a team that was not expecting anything. We had luck.''
 
On Friday, the Baruch men's doubles team advanced before running into a brick wall: falling to a talented Mississippi College duo.
 
Before taking the three-minute walk to the Round Rock Sports Center for Day Two of the championships, Reddy and his crew touched on some of their favorite things to do in the Empire State. Well, outside table tennis.
 
For Sean, going to see the New York Yankees play at Yankee Stadium rises to No. 1. It's been that way for generations of fans of the superstars in Pinstripes, from Babe Ruth to Mickey Mantle to Derek Jeter. The World Trade Center, Chinatown, Little Italy, Rockefeller Center, Jimmy Kimmel hosting the "Tonight Show'' on NBC, the Statue of Liberty, and the list of favorite things in NYC goes on.
 
Baruch College also offers an excellent education to students. Named for financier Bernard Baruch, the school spotlights its Zicklin School of Business and the Weissmann School of Arts & Science, to name a few programs. Baruch is one of ten senior colleges in the CUNY system.
 
When he's slamming table tennis balls at tournaments or practices, Sean regularly hits the books. The Baruch junior is a philosophy and political science major making plans for law school.
 
Baruch, Columbia, NYU, Hofstra, and other schools in the region, all the way to Harvard & MIT in the Boston area, offer a first-rate education. And that combines with a terrific experience for table tennis players.
 
"Everybody in the Northeast is pretty good,'' Sean Reddy says. "They're all solid.''
 
Baruch teammates Arvis Chen, Can Wang, Mishel Levinski and Sammy Zheng agree. Then the five New Yorkers rushed off Saturday morning to play more table tennis.
 

The 2016 TMS 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 TMS International, Gerflor, Double Fish, and Joola.

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday March 25th and continues through Sunday March 27th at the Round Rock Sports Center

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

 

NCTTA Star Power in Class of 2016

By Andy Kanengiser
NCTTA Media Chairman
 
Table tennis luminaries like Emil Santos of Texas Wesleyan and Cheng Li of Mississippi College lead the parade of stars closing out stellar careers in NCTTA tournaments.
 
A powerful Texas Wesleyan leader from the Dominican Republic, Santos, 25, impressed fans at the 2016 TMS College Table Tennis Championships.
 
During a break at Friday's games in Round Rock,Texas Wesleyan coach Jasna Rather saluted the business major's accomplishments.
 
"Emil is a role model to all the others. He's a hard worker, very responsible and a good student,'' Rather said at the Round Rock Sports Center. "It's good to have people like him on the team.''
 
Rather coached a number of extraordinary student-athletes, including Mark Hazinski on terrific Rams squads. And Santos, she said, "is in elite company. He was one of our top guys over the years.''
     
What's next for the TWU senior? "He will try to work for one year and get some experience.'' But, Emil is open to opportunities, the coach added.
 
Santos remains one of the key pieces in the extraordinary Texas Wesleyan success story. The Fort Worth-based school won 11 consecutive coed team championships before being edged by Mississippi College in April 2015. Santos earned headlines as the NCTTA's men's singles champion in 2013.
 

Mississippi College's Cheng Li, 23, succeeded Santos as the NCTTA's men's singles champion in 2014. He's serving his second season as the MC Choctaws coach and captain. The native of China is considering an offer from university leaders to stay as table tennis coach, while pursuing his MBA the next two years on the Clinton campus. Li and teammate Tong Zhang shined as the national men's collegiate doubles champs last season.

 
While Li guided MC to its first table tennis championship in 2015, the smart business administration major worked hard to bring another national triumph to the 5,100-student university. It could boil down to another Texas Wesleyan-Mississippi College showdown when the Round Rock tournament ends Sunday.
 
Other top-notch players will wrap up their NCTTA careers this weekend. They include Henry Chau, 22, a senior at McMaster University in Canada. Seeking a bachelor's degree in economics, Chau played four years at the school in Hamilton, Ontario. Thanks to players like him, McMaster punched its ticket to the 2015 Nationals in Wisconsin for the first time and finished the year ranked 8th. This year, its coed squad entered the Round Rock tournament as 11th best.
 
Closing out his collegiate career, he said, "is a sad feeling. But it's been a great experience.'' A Toronto resident, Henry grew up playing hockey and volleyball until a knee injury prompted the teen to switch to table tennis. His plans ahead? To work a year, then earn a master's degree. Chau hopes to serve NCTTA as a volunteer.
 
The University of Minnesota table tennis team will soon bid farewell to two standout players: Kris Sabas, 31, and Ben Kubesh, 21. Both are on track to graduate in May. Look for Sabas to return next season as the Minnesota coach. A philosophy major, Sabas is considering a sales internship or the possibility of law school. No matter what, he will continue to be passionate about table tennis.
 
It's something in the Sabas DNA. His parents, Joseph and Cynthia Sabas, are table tennis players in the Senior Olympics. His 7-year-old daughter, Abigail, plays the game. too. With a ranking of 2200, the Minneapolis resident is making his third appearance at the NCTTA championships.
 
 A former Minnesota high school doubles star, Kubesh will graduate in May with a bachelor's degree in marketing/finance. The Austin, Minnesota resident expects to work for a consulting firm. 
 
As Minnesota club president, Ben recruited solid players with help from social media. He's proud that Minnesota's coed team finished last season among the top dozen teams in North America. He's relished his four years with the Maroon & Gold.
 
"It's been a great time,'' Kubesh said. "The Minnesota club is awesome. It's more like a family.''
 
As graduation day draws near, the NCTTA family encourages the Class of 2016 to give back as table tennis volunteers.

The 2016 TMS 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 TMS International, Gerflor, Double Fish, and Joola.

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday March 25th and continues through Sunday March 27th at the Round Rock Sports Center

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

Incoming!

By Brent Hearn

The NCTTA is all about breaking barriers in table tennis, but somebody forgot to tell 21-year-old Santiago Sevilla of Lindenwood that it’s supposed to be just a figure of speech.

In a Round of 16 doubles match against Mississippi College, Sevilla went all in on a point, lost his balance, and crashed through a barrier into the neighboring field of play.

“I was trying to make a forehand flip. It was a sidespin serve, so I knew I could do it,” said Sevilla. “But I stepped  back—I did something wrong, and I just fell into the barriers.”

Luckily, Mr. Sevilla wasn’t seriously injured, but the incident did bring a temporary halt to the match.

“I did something to my finger and it started bleeding,” said Sevilla. “They told me that if I’m bleeding, I cannot keep playing, so I just got a Band-Aid and (got) cleaned up. It was not bad. It’s the rules.”

After a break in the action, Sevilla was able to continue. However, he and his partner, Ahmed Hendawi, hit a wall—a figurative one in this case, thankfully—in the form of the #2 seed, Mississippi College’s Tong Zhang and Cheng Li. They fell to MC in straight games.

Check out the action in video here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/nctta/?fref=nf

Note: There are several important lessons to be learned from this video:

  1. If someone says that table tennis is not a contact sport, they don’t know what they’re talking about.

  2. While as a journalist you sometimes have to dig and scratch to get a story, every now and then you just get lucky. I could have been shooting it at any one of the three dozen tables in the arena, but I ended up being in precisely the right place at exactly the right time.

  3. No matter why you’re shooting footage, just say no to vertical video. My excuse: This was a super-quick Snapchat video I was going to share with a friend to give her a sample of some of the ladies’ action at the Championships. Still, I should know better. I offer my humble apologies, my fellow table tennis enthusiasts. Rookie move.

The 2016 TMS 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 TMS International, Gerflor, Double Fish, and Joola.

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday March 25th and continues through Sunday March 27th at the Round Rock Sports Center

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

Promoting College Table Tennis

Jay Quimby of College of William and Mary featured above with this team

By Andy Kanengiser

NCTTA Media Chairman

Chances are good that college table tennis players like Angus Fong of Yale and Jay Quimby of William & Mary won't ignite lots of media buzz.

A future physician, Fong, 19, is the only Yalie participating at the national collegiate championships in Round Rock, Texas. The same holds true for Quimby, the lone William & Mary representative. The 20-year-old son of a diplomat seeks to follow in his dad's footsteps.

Interviewed Friday at the Round Rock Sports Center as scores of hollow white balls flew in the air, Fong believes his appearance at the 2016 national championships will spark at least one story.

Angus expects the "Yale Daily News'' will do a profile piece, but it's unlikely to show up on page one.There's much more talk on the New Haven campus about Yale basketball. Yale's talented men's squad upset Baylor as they played in the NCAA's March Madness hoops tourney before losing to Duke a few days ago.

But the bright Hong Kong native isn't really interested in making headlines. Angus Fong just wants to build table tennis on the New Haven campus. "We hope to have a top team over the next three years.'' Yale's team advanced to the NCTTA regionals recently for the first time before getting eliminated.

While Angus looks ahead to better seasons in the future for the Yale Bulldogs, he's pretty bullish on the state of college table tennis in the USA and Canada.

"This is quite an experience,'' Quimby said as he watched the games at the huge facility in the city billed as the Sports Capital of Texas. "This is the first time competing in a venue so grand. It is the best venue I ever competed in.''

At the March 25-27 tournament near Austin, Angus lost his first two singles matches Friday against strong players from Lindenwood University of Missouri and the University of Minnesota. More matches, with plenty of spins and slams, are to come for the player with a 2000 ranking. For Fong, there are no Yale teammates to cheer for him. "It's tough being the only person to come here from my team.''

The 2016 TMS National College Table Tennis Championships are attracting 250 of the best collegiate players in North America.

Fong comes from Kong Kong where table tennis is king and he began playing the sport at an early age. It's not all table tennis for the smart Yalie. He's taking classes in computer science and psychology at the rigorous Ivy League school. Angus brought his books with him to the Lone Star State.

Jay Quimby, who squared off early against a UCLA player, didn't bring fans from his school in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. But there are a couple of familiar faces in his corner. Attending middle school and high school in China, Jay knows a couple of players  in Round Rock from Northwestern and Canada's McMaster University.

An international relations major, the William & Mary sophomore sees Round Rock as a valuable learning experience. Jay also improved his game by playing at the 2015 nationals in Wisconsin.

After beginning to play the Olympic sport as a 9th grader in Hong Kong, look for the looper (with a 2000 rating) to stick with the game for a long time. Jay played tennis and excelled as a soccer goal keeper, but he's really on fire for table tennis. "I will probably play as long as I can - play for my whole life.''

The 2016 TMS 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 TMS International, Gerflor, Double Fish, and Joola.

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday March 25th and continues through Sunday March 27th at the Round Rock Sports Center

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

Pages