Pictured above are Liberty University's qualifiers to Men's singles, Josiah Boda and Messanh Ameduite
By Andy Kanengiser and Willy Leparulo
Out of 258 total Collegiate Athletes there are always “new kids on the block” to welcome into the College Table Tennis family. From big state schools to smaller colleges we have it all and with paddles in hand, players from schools like the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York to Ohlone College in California will compete in the NCTTA’s 2016 Championship games for the first time. The March 25-27 tournament in the Lone Star State also marks the debut of several teams from the Midwest, including Nebraska, Iowa and Iowa State.
On its Lincoln Campus, the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers boasts a new star table tennis player who traveled thousands of miles away from his native Kyrgyzstan. While his name is tough to pronounce, his table tennis credentials are solid. Bektemir Ysmailov is a former national team player for his country and played in the World Team Table Tennis Championships in 2009, 2011 and 2013! Kyrgyzstan or the Kyrgyz Republic is a landblocked country in Central Asia.
Ysmailov has a fun fact in that he graduated high school at 16 years old and this past fall he started his PHD program in Finance at the old age of 20! Ysmailov has the smarts on and off the table and is a welcome new addition to represent himself and his school in the Championships.
Another school making its first championship appearance is Iowa State State where Men’s Singles player Jikang Qu is a student. Qu will be the only Iowa State player to compete in the tournament.. He won't be "that" alone b/c neighbor school University of Iowa is also attending the NCTTA Championships as their women's team qualified for the tournament and their Men's team captain Arnold Kompaniyets is also in Men’s Singles.
FIT's women's table tennis climbed to the top after struggling for several years in Big Apple tournaments. Mandy Liu (the number three seed in women's singles) leads the squad. Before all is said and done, the FIT women will do much more than make a fashion statement in Texas. Ohlone College surprised people in California tournaments during the fall and spring, but this NCTTA West Coast newcomer is for real. Ying Wang is the team leader.
Liberty University table tennis is alive and well after being away from the game for nearly a decade. Players like Jospiah Boda and Messanh Ameduite are two of the Liberty men pumped to be playing for the team coached by physics professor Stephen Kilpatrick.
Liberty's women's team recently placed first in the Virginia division tournament. "The momentum is still building,'' Kilpatrick said as Liberty prepares for the NCTTA's Big Dance at Round Rock, "The talent and dedication is there.''
NCTTA leaders are delighted to welcome all the newcomers to the national championships and will write about their stories once the games begin in late March.
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
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