Weather and Travel Woes Impact Table Tennis Players

By Andy Kanengiser

NCTTA Media Chairman

The Weather Channel's Jim Cantore should have interviewed NCTTA players about their challenges on the road to Round Rock, Texas.

Heavy snow caused most flights to be cancelled at the Denver airport. Unable to fly, table tennis players from some college teams out West ended up driving 14 hours to make it to the 2016 championships in the Lone Star State.

These men and women would be excellent candidates for the NCTTA's road warriors of the year!

Snow was just one big issue for players at some USA schools as the championships approached March 25-27. Players for colleges in Canada like the University of Toronto say there was plenty of snow, and ice as they caught flights. Planes had to be de-iced and that took time and led to more delays for passengers.

As he finished breakfast at the Holiday Inn near the Round Rock Sports Center, Toronto player Alierza Tabatabaei mentioned there were delays for the team at customs. The Toronto team got split up, but still managed to make it. In-between games, the 34-year-old native of Iran will keep up with his studies. He's a doctoral student in mechanical engineering.

Players from other schools like Nancy Zhou of Brown University say they noticed that airport security was stepped up due to the terrorist attacks in Brussels. Bombs in the Belgian city killed at least 31 people and injured 300 others earlier this week. There were long lines at Boston's Logan Airport for travelers.

"The morning was super hectic,'' Zhou said. "I was running to the gate.''

Still, the college players somehow made it to the Dallas airport. Zhou got to the hotel at 6 p.m. last night, just in time for practice at the beautiful sports facility minutes away from the hotel. Other players were bleary-eyed as they drank cups of coffee. One Columbia University player noted she arrived in Round Rock at 2 a.m. with the tournament to start 9 a.m. Friday.

Players from institutions like McMaster University in Canada used message posts on Facebook Thursday night to catch rides to Round Rock for the tournament. Whatever it takes, talented NCTTA players showed up with their paddles in hand to play. Travel, though, was a breeze for the hometown team, the University of Texas. UT Austin is about a dozen miles from Round Rock.

Last year's table tennis tournament at Eau Claire, Wisconsin saw weather and travel challenges, too. There were tornadoes and sheets of rain in Missouri and other Midwestern states as college players traveled to the April 2015 national championships.

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

Random Round Rocker: Diana Hogshead

By Brent Hearn

Like any sport, table tennis has its share of numbers. Stats...rankings....ratings...seedings...they all have their place in our sport.

That said, the numbers aren’t what drive us want to play table tennis. The stats aren’t what make us want to watch two (or four—we’ve got your back, doubles players) athletes dig deep and battle for domination. The rankings and seedings, while they most certainly have their place, aren’t what foster new friendships at an event like Nationals.

In short, it’s the people.

With that in mind, we’ll be doing a series throughout the weekend that focuses specifically on the people who are doing their part to make this year’s event special. Players, coaches, spectators, volunteers—everyone who is a piece in the puzzle at this year’s Championships.
 

You may be asking yourself, "How do you decide whom to write about?" Well, we use a complicated algorithm that takes into account age, gender, school location, subject's proximity to the media area...

I'm totally kidding. I just walk around the arena and ask someone to talk to me. 

Call it the Forrest Gump interview approach: You never know what you're gonna get. It's fun! It's informative! It's irresponsibly unpredictable! And now, without further ado, let's meet our very first Random Round Rocker!

What’s your name?

Diana Hogshead.

Where are you from?

Rockford, Illinois.

What’s your role at the Championships?

I’m helping to coordinate between the umpires and the control desk.

Do you play?

I used to, but not any more.

When you did play, what was your best shot?

I never played a lot—just more recreational.

How many times have you been to Nationals?

Probably 10.

What are your thoughts on the tournament thus far?

It looks like it’s running on time. The venue’s great. Everybody seems to be ready to play.

What’s your favorite thing about table tennis?

I love that it’s so multi-generational and that you don’t have all the barriers that a lot of the sports have. (It’s inclusive to) females...children...that’s the part of table tennis I love.

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

(laughs) I’m so bad, I wouldn’t want to embarrass myself!

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

I’m the only one married to Ed Hogshead.

Hear that, ladies? Mr. Hogshead is spoken for, so don’t even think about it. Thanks so much to Diana for taking the time to speak to us. And a big shout-out to all of the volunteers who are working hard behind the scenes to make these Championships run smoothly!
Who will be our next Random Round Rocker? Keep checking back to find out!

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

College Table Tennis Singles Reaches New Heights

Ying Wang pictured here from Ohlone College is #1 seed

NCTTA has reached new heights with reference to its Men’s and Women’s singles competition this year in the 2016 TMS College Table Tennis Championships. First, we have a full house for the first time in NCTTA history! 80 men and 40 women, which is the max, have registered for this event.

The level of play is astounding in both the men’s and women’s area despite missing some big hitters. Lily Zhang, Erica Wu and Arile Hsing on the women’s side and Michael Landers on the men’s side took a year off of college table tennis, but still the competition is fierce! On the men’s side, 60 out of 80 men are over 2000 in rating! The women’s side has almost half over 2000. Clearly the College game has advanced to new levels.

Kagin Lee, NCTTA’s competition manager, comments, “I am not surprised at the increased depth of players.” He said that last year there were 49 men over 2000 and this year seeing an increase is not all that shocking.

Lee in addition adds, “It shows the growth of the NCTTA league in attracting both domestic and international players, as well as the growth of junior programs in the US, not just producing national team level players, but a higher number of serious players nationwide”.

The NCTTA organizers aren’t the only ones who have taken notice either. Team Captain from the University of North Texas team, Alan Chu states, “"The competitiveness for this year's nationals is incredibly high. It seems like a relatively strong player can get run over quickly if he just sits there instead of preparing himself both physically and mentally."

Run over quickly is what everyone is looking to do to one another. Should be a great Men’s and women’s singles competition!

On the women’s side, Ying Wang from Ohlone College is seeded number one with Jishan Liang from Texas Wesleyan positioned at top in the men’s and quite frankly there are no easy wins!

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

Move Over Men—College Table Tennis Women Are In Top Gear

(Pictured above is one of the top women of this competition, Rongge Zhang of Western University)

The 2016 TMS College Table Tennis Championships in Texas this March 25-27th will feature an NCTTA record 16 women’s teams! We have a full house this year and unlike years past there isn’t a clear cut winner!

In the past, the women’s team championship could be predicted to see Texas Wesleyan or Princeton or Lindenwood win the title.  Lindenwood didn’t field a women’s team, Princeton University didn’t field a team either, so one would think Texas Wesleyan is the hands down winner? Well never discount the Texas Wesleyan Rams, but there are others on the periphery that will certainly make this an interesting Women’s team event!

Western University of Canada is ranked #2 and has a team of 2000 plus women registered. The Western women’s team are ready to battle and could probably defeat most men’s/coed teams as well. Western University women’s team has an excellent chance of turning some heads and potentially even winning the Championship title! Western University’s coach, Eunice Chan, states, “This year, the Women's team placed first in both the Divisional and Regional tournament, beating out tough competitors, such as University of Toronto.”

Western is leaning on veteran Rongge Zhang and newcomer (to NCTTA), Changjing (Spencer) Zhu. Chan comments, “This is our strongest women's team thus far and these two ladies have proven themselves in both the Divisional and Regional tournaments that they are a force to be reckon with, both placing top two in singles events.”

Another school to watch out for is the University of Wisconsin-Madison probably provides the biggest surprise in the women’s team event because in the past they were not considered strong contenders, but this year they have former Lindenwood star, Maria Castillo added into the mix making them a formidable contender. Castillo, a former Colombian international, says, “"This is the best women's team UW-Madison has ever had, and we believe this is our year! We will fight hard to bring the title home." Add Pamela Song wielding her pips power and newcomer Yixin Zhang and you have an interesting mix that could win the whole event!

These are just a few of the schools in the running, but from 1 to 16 in the women’s team event, there is no place to hide. If you are playing the TMS NCTTA Bracket Challenge a good dark horse might be the Columbia Women’s team led by former Indian international and ITTF media intern, Neha Aggarwal.  Aggarwal comments about the overall women’s game in the US, “The USA has always been strong in Women Table Tennis at the international level. I am glad that even at the collegiate level the competition is high. I have always been a promoter of women in sport and I am glad to see more girls taking part in College TT.”

As the title suggests so appropriately “move over men”; the Women’s College Table Tennis event is bound to impress!

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

Table Tennis Gains Strength in Iowa

By Andy Kanengiser

NCTTA Media Chairman

 

"Build it and they will come.'' That's the famous line from the hit movie "Field of Dreams'' years ago starring Kevin Costner. The award-winning film told the story of a mythical baseball team of big-league stars from decades ago. The stars with bats & gloves suddenly emerged from the Iowa cornfields.

The same classic movie line can be applied in connection with the birth of collegiate table tennis at the University of Iowa. Senior citizens Jarol & Leah Duerksen opened their Iowa City home to people to play table tennis in recent years. The longtime NCTTA volunteers also strongly encouraged the creation of a table tennis team at the University of Iowa in their hometown. And now the Iowa' women's table tennis team is playing in the NCTTA's Big Dance in Round Rock, Texas March 25-27!

Hats off once again to the Duerksens, who were honored by NCTTA leaders for their faithful service to collegiate table tennis at a banquet at last year's championships in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Each year, the couple travels to NCTTA national championships to oversee the practice tables for college players.

The Duerksens went a few steps further in 2015 because their passion for table tennis sparked the creation of the Iowa team last fall. The Iowa men and women regularly practice at the Duerksen's house and have lots of fun along the way. The beloved Iowa couple comes to their tournaments to cheer the Hawkeyes.

"They were very influential in getting the Iowa team put together,'' says Meng-Yu Wang, one of the leaders of the women's team on the Iowa City campus. Other Iowa table tennis  players are: Haiying "Haddy'' Zhang, Dan Yang and Jingjing Li. All of the talented Iowa women are from China.

On the men's side, Arnold Kompaniyets, a native of the Ukraine, serves as the Iowa  team captain.The Iowa women are seeded 9th in the 2016 nationals in Round Rock. Arnold will accompany the Iowa women on the journey to the city near Austin in late March.

The Iowa Hawkeyes are thrilled to be making their first championship appearance in their first year of play.

So is student-athlete Jikang Qu of Iowa State University in Ames. A penhold-style  table tennis player from China, the Iowa State graduate student seeks a master's in electrical engineering. Qu will compete in men's singles at the tournament in the Lone Star State. He loves to attack after each serve and enjoys looping with his forehand.

While the rest of the Iowa State team didn't make it to 2016 Nationals, Jikang Qu will play his heart out. "I will try my best to show how good we are in singles.''

 

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

Texas Longhorns Grab Hometown Spotlight at Table Tennis Championships

By Andy Kanengiser

NCTTA Media Chairman

Texas Longhorns players usually come sporting cowboy hats, western boots, spurs, rodeo gear and much more at annual NCTTA banquets.

If there was a bull around, the Texans might ride it, too, at the college table tennis championships. At the 51,000-student university known for famous grads like movie actor Matthew McConaughey and former First Lady Laura Bush, these UT-Austin table tennis stars are a talented bunch.

Enjoying home court advantage with the 2016 NCTTA championships staged in nearby Round Rock, the 11-member Texas team is also a diverse group.

Coach Judy Chen (a Texas grad) and players Franny Fang, Tina Wang, and Tim Wang are all from Taiwan. Felix Chan comes from Hong Kong. Pulak Goswani and Sanjana Gupta hail from India. Sophomore Grayden Cook, 19, is a native of San Antonio, home of the 5-time NBA champion San Antonio Spurs. A Texas pre-med student, Cook hits the books, too.

Being able to take the ten to fifteen-mile drive from the Austin campus to Round Rock is something the Texas team will relish. No need to book flights, tote lots of luggage of get lost. The 2016 TMS College Table Tennis Championship will be in the Lone Star State March 25-27.

 “We’re all very excited to host such a huge event in our own backyard, so to speak,’’ says UT-Austin Club President Chris Lee. “Everyone here is passionate about table tennis. It is a great plus to have it so close to us and bring some needed publicity to the sport in our community.’’

Texas features seven players on the coed team and four student-athletes on the women’s squad. The Longhorns team doesn’t have far to go to practice. The players practice at the Austin Table Tennis Club where they’ve received valuable lessons from coach Yang Yu, a former Mississippi College table tennis star.

The Texas team won’t just bring their paddles. The squad will also serve as volunteers, with their assignments to include setting up and taking down tables at the three-day event. Some of the players will also serve as umpires and scorekeepers.

Look for the Texas Longhorns and their fans to make lots of noise in Round Rock. They have something to cheer about. A year, ago the Texas squad was ranked 9th going into the tournament in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. A year ago, Judy Chen, 23, played for the Texas team with its white and burnt orange colors as a pharmacy graduate student. In late March, Judy will step up and lend her expertise as the Longhorns coach.

 At a Texas basketball powerhouse led by men’s coach Shaka Smart, the table tennis team on the Austin campus is smart, too. With paddles in hand, the men and women from zip code 52059 should represent the University of Texas very well.

 

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

Table Tennis is Bigger in Texas. But...Why? Part I

By Brent Hearn

“Everything is bigger in Texas.”

That’s how the saying goes, anyway, and for good reason. Besides its sheer geographic size—it runs nearly a third of the length of the nation—it’s a place of big oil, big hats, and big personalities. And if the number of Texas schools playing in this year’s NCTTA Championships is any indicator, it’s a place for big table tennis talent, as well.

This year, there are six teams representing Texas in the tournament: The University of Texas at  Dallas, The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University, University of North Texas, and—last, but definitely not least—perennial powerhouse Texas Wesleyan University.

There are definitely worse times for a spectacular turnout than when your state is hosting the National Championships. The increase in participation from Texas schools bodes well for the future of table tennis in the state. No matter what sport in question, there’s just something about an in-state rivalry. Table tennis is no exception. Rivalries within a defined geographic location (even when said geographic location is the size of...well, Texas) mean more intense competition. And more intense competition produces better players, which in turn provides better competition, and...well, you get the idea. With the bar constantly being raised, developing players are forced to sharpen their games to keep up, and before you know it, you have a hotbed of talent on your hands.

This begs the question: What’s causing the increased presence of Texas teams on the national stage?

It’s a question that can’t be asked without addressing the elephant in the room—the 11-time

Coed National Champion elephant, to be precise. Until Mississippi College went from superbly talented also-ran to major spoiler in last year’s tournament, Texas Wesleyan owned the event for over a decade. If you can’t say “peat” after the number of consecutive titles without it sounding ridiculous, then it’s safe to say you’re talking about a team that’s likely to alter the competitive landscape a bit.

So is Texas Wesleyan’s dominance of the sport for so long at all responsible for the increased presence of schools from the Lone Star State in the Championships? And if so, to what degree? Stay tuned for Part II to find out what the Texans think.

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

 

Family Affair

Pictured above Connie Chen (Cornell) and Judy Chen (Coach of UT Austin) and the Skolnick brothers (Lindenwood)

By Willy Leparulo

NCTTA Media Committee

We have had in the past, brothers and sisters and even the most famous brother and sister combination in Adam Hugh (Princeton) and Judy Hugh (Rutgers). This year however what is interesting is that we have 6 pairs of siblings (that we know of) at the 2016 TMS College Table Tennis Championships!

Gabriel and Micaiah Skolnick are both players for the strong Lindenwood Table Tennis scholarship program. The brothers also seem to share the same profession, resident directors in University Housing and of course they share competitive drive in Table Tennis.  Micaiah says about their competitive spirit, “When we play against each other we fight to the death!”

As it should be! The duo is teamed up in the Men’s Doubles competition as the number 12 seed out of 32 and are quite a potent couple despite having been self taught have both reached high levels in the sport!

Another brother/brother combo is out of New York with Columbia’s Kung brothers, Justin and Nathan. They both play on the same team, but oddly enough they have never had the chance to play doubles, but are providing the adequate “punch” that the Columbia team will need in this tough Collegiate Competition.

We have a sister/sister combination with Judy Chen, ex UT Austin graduate and now head coach and Connie Chen current Cornell University player. UT Austin’s head coach says, “It’s kind of a mini family reunion as I only see her during winter and summer break.” Judy is now on the other side of the table as coach for the UT Austin team. Question is will Judy coach against her sister? Come to the tournament and see!

This year we have a couple brother/sister combinations as well. Patrick Wu (Coach)at NYU and sister Alison Wu (player) from Columbia will see each other. Also from the Northeast is Anne and Charles Deng are representing themselves and their respective schools (Harvard and Brown) at the College Table Tennis Championships. According to Anne, “It’ll be a complete family reunion” Deng family is from Houston just two hours away and they will be coming to watch!

Also Nathaniel Chu and Isabel Chu from UCLA are at the tournament. Isabel Chu if you recall was the winner of the NCTTA Newgy Scholarship earlier this year.  Isabel says about College Table Tennis, “Growing up, there were many Saturdays spent watching the Divisionals and Regional Competitions at my local clubs. The Atmosphere of a collegiate tournament is different from others with so much team spirit in every game, point. I knew then that competing in college was something I really wanted to do.”  Chu will experience #loudnproud first hand!

Family love and pong love two bonds that can’t be broken and will be showcased at the 2016 TMS College Table Tennis Championships in Round Rock, Texas March 25-27th.

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

College Table Tennis--Home of Unique Personalities

(Pictured to the left is Pamela Song and to the right is Josue Layuno)

Every sport has its own kind of "personality" and College Table Tennis is no different on that regard. Every year 250 or so College Table Tennis athletes come together. We at NCTTA  like to highlight some of the folks that provide a bit more spunk to the game then your typical forehand or backhand. People that you will be able to pick out of a crowd and know that is someone who loves what they do!

First, let’s meet Josue Layuno hailing from the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. Josue is a freshmen at University of Connecticut and has a superstitious knack of wearing “super hero socks” and has been nicknamed “Superman" by many in the Northeast. 

Josue traveled to a US team tournament when he was younger and they needed an inexpensive uniform and the idea of wearing super hero socks came into play.  Josue says, “From that tournament on, I always use my super hero socks on important tournaments for extra luck. Call it superstitious or whatever, but I enjoy using these lucky socks.”

He enjoys being “the guy behind the superhero socks” and certainly once you see or hear him play, you will see or hear very clearly why he fits in perfectly with the #loudnproud NCTTA twitter hashtag!

We are lucky to have Josue join us this year and look forward to him being a popular mainstay in College Table Tennis.

Another person we are lucky to have is veteran Pamela Song who is fairly open about her “wacky” pips game. Song, the former penhold smooth player, said probably with a wry smile, “haha thank you! I take “wacky” as a compliment!” Truth be told she makes pips play look so effortless! Song, a proud Vegan Athlete,  talks about her play style over the years, “I grew more mature as a person, so did my games. I look at wins and losses from a different perspective now, and I would say I am so much more patient than ever!”

Song started her playing days when she was 10 years old in Beijing China and interestingly enough was into soccer a bit more but because of all the bruises her mom encouraged her more to do a less physical sport. Song wasn’t much of the traditional Barbie doll kind of girl growing up but the idea of Table Tennis was something that grew on her. Song says, “I learned really fast and beat everyone in my school within one year, and I got a lot of attention from people! I got interviews from CCTV, and I got chosen to play table tennis with the mayor of Beijing and the former president of China, Hu Jintao.”

One look at this 5 foot 6 Wisconsin woman athlete and you think “I can take her, no big deal.” But what actually does happen might make you cry, but don’t worry she is too kind to make you look too bad! Pamela is studying Biochemistry with honors in research and loves science and helping people.

Watch for Pamela and Josue in the upcoming championships!

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

College Table Tennis in Canada Prospers

(Pictured above is a recent Great Lakes Regional Touranment in Canada)

Canadian schools have had a long storied history in the NCTTA (since the 1990’s). The first school from Canada to join NCTTA was Queens University. Schools from Canada also share a similar to history to that of their American brothers and sisters in the battle to make our sport more respected in the eyes of their respective Colleges and Universities.

Fast forward to 2016 and one can call it a veritable Canadian invasion of sorts with two NCTTA divisions and 8 to 10 schools in any given season.  The Canadians are known in College Table Tennis to be excellent athletes and competitors and this year is no different as the event features four Canadian schools this year: McMaster, McGill, University of Toronto and Western University (Ontario). Each with a shot at putting Canada on the proverbial College Table Tennis map.

Western University of Canada is ranked #2 and could probably compete with most men’s/coed teams as well. Western University’s coach, Eunice Chan, states, “This year, the Women's team placed first in both the Divisional and Regional tournament, beating out tough competitors, such as University of Toronto.”

Speaking about the University of Toronto, this year’s team features present/past Canadian national team players. University of Toronto coach, Howard Ma tells us, “I believe we have a team that’s one of a kind and perhaps the best one we’ve ever had in school history.” Despite their strength they are aware of how strong their US counterparts are. Ma says, “As someone who has participated in this tournament on multiple occasions, the level of play in NCTTA has been ascending on an incredible pace.”

McMaster University Table Tennis has also shared in the success as Henry Chau, Team Captain, states, “McMaster Table Tennis club has really grown in numbers over the years.” McMaster’s club is run by Cedric Mosdell who plays on their B team and they strive to not only be recognized more by their school but become a Varsity sport.

This seems to be a common theme not only for the US schools but with the Canadian schools as well. Canada as a country invests in Amateur sports via the government so we can only hope that Table Tennis is next in line with that kind of support at the country’s Colleges and Universities.  

Chau says, “Almost every dollar that my team pays for NCTTA are out of our own pockets.”  McMaster, Western, Toronto and McGill have had to engage in outside help from local businesses, alumni and sponsorships. Western and Toronto raised money through gofundme.com and did incredibly and should be commended and we in NCTTA hope Canadian Recreational Administrators take notice.

One important aspect despite any challenges with funding or recognition is the mutual respect they have for one another. Coach Ma puts it into perspective, “No matter which school or country you are from, we are all brought together by the love of the sport. The sport allows a setting for everyone to come together regardless of culture, ethnicity, race, gender, etc. in order to accomplish a common goal.”

Best of luck to our brothers and sisters across the border in Canada at this year’s College Table Tennis Championships!

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