By Andy Kanengiser
NCTTA Media Chairman
Removing ice off her frozen car windshield days ago in chilly Central Michigan was annoying for Sandy Chen.
"I don't like the freezing cold,'' said the 24-year-old Michigan State University graduate student.
It's late April, and the winter keeps hanging on for the northern half of the USA and Canada.Even in parts of the South,like Mississippi and Tennessee, the "spring'' was much colder than usual.
So escaping to the warmth of the iSet national collegiate table tennis championships in Texas was one way to leave old man winter behind. Sandy caught a flight from East Lansing, Michigan to the O'Hare airport in Chicago and finally to Austin, Texas to get away for a few days.
A Michigan State table tennis player, Sandy Chen is volunteering as an umpire at the NCTTA tournament April 20-22 at the Round Rock Sports Center. It's sunny and 70 degrees in the Texas city near the state capital of Austin.
That's perfect weather for the media information graduate student from East Lansing. Back home, it was snowing in Michigan. The previous day? It was freezing rain. Really,not much better for the former Michigan Wolverine who's now an MSU Spartan.
Signed up for this weekend's games at the NCTTA championships in sunny Texas was also a delightful getaway from frigid conditions for residents from upstate New York.
That was the case for women's singles player Dominique Canale, 24, of SUNY-Oswego. An MBA student who graduates in August, she brought her books with her favorite paddle to the Round Rock Sports Center.
Canale also works full-time as a project manager with the AXA insurance company. But the former NCAA Division II college tennis player carved out time to compete in her new sport of table tennis. Her boyfriend, Justin D'Antonio, an NCTTA division director in New York, got her started. (pictured above)
She loves the challenges, the spins, foot work, motion and other aspects of the fast-moving Olympic sport.
In the balmy spring air of Texas, the graduate of LeMoyne College in Syracuse, found plenty of interesting things to do, like visiting outdoor art galleries. Seeing thousands of bats flying around Austin's bridges provided an awesome sight for the New Yorker.
Hanging out in the Lone Star State, she said, was a nice switch from all the snow in New York.
The 2018 iSET 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 iSET, Double Happiness, Gerflor, Double Fish and USA Table Tennis
Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the iSET College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 20th and continues through Sunday April 22nd.
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