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

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

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