Table Tennis is Bigger in Texas. But...Why? Part II
Pictured above is a Inter Texas Scrimmage with UNT, UT Austin, etc.
By Brent Hearn
In Part I, we noted the formidable presence of Texas teams in this year’s NCTTA Championships. In the midst of the tournament action, we got the chance to talk to a couple of people who might have an idea of what’s causing the Lone Star State’s stock to rise in the world of collegiate table tennis.
Judy Chen, a former University of Texas at Austin player who is acting as the team’s coach, gives a lot of credit to the strength of table tennis in the city of Plano.
“Plano had a lot of students who were playing table tennis very seriously before high school, and it just so (happens that) we all entered the high school/college years,” said Chen, who is enrolled in UT’s pharmacy school. “For instance...four people on our UT team...used to practice together in Plano.”
But Chen also thinks that’s just one of several factors.
“(Table tennis is) becoming more well known,” said Chen. “The clubs have been established for a longer time, so they’re doing a better job advertising themselves so more people are aware of it. We’re lucky that a lot of international students...graduate students, especially--they’re here, they came to Texas, then they found these clubs, and they’re all really good.”
Eldon Luo, a 20-year-old sophomore at Texas A&M acting as the team’s coach, cited the top-tier competition as a motivator.
According to Luo, “Texas is one of the hardest divisions, because we have Wesleyan, UT Austin, UT Dallas, and North Texas. North Texas is really good this year. Whenever you have top players, you really want to do better. Somebody as strong as Wesleyan--they just push us.”
“We’re lucky that there’s all these good players that are willing to play,” said Chen.
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