slideshow

Top Schools Look for Glory in Men’s/Coed Team Championships

(Picture above of Tom Feng by Warren Rosenberg)

The Men’s/Coed Team event is the title everyone seeks. Each tournament has the premier event and for the 2018 iSET College Table Tennis Championships it is the Men’s/Coed Team event.

The National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA) was founded in the early 1990’s with this format and structure in place for a men’s/coed team battle where both the best men and women college students play together to represent their school for the chance to take this title. This is an odd format for table tennis and unique to see men and women playing together on the same team, but this is the NCTTA way and it is our diamond event!

The top 10 in the men’s/coed team event is a who’s who of Table Tennis talent from former to current Olympians from the United States and other countries! Pillar College features former US Olympian Timothy Wang, and California Berkeley features current US Olympian Lily Zhang. And let’s not forget other schools like Mississippi College (the only school to defeat Texas Wesleyan in the modern era), Lindenwood University (a scholarship school in Missouri) or UC Davis and Northeastern that have very strong teams as well.  NCTTA tournament director, Willy Leparulo states, “Literally there is no place to hide in a draw like this, everyone is good, wall to wall 2000’s.”

Lindenwood University’s coach David Cabrera says when we asked him if this is the best Lindenwood team yet, “I think our chances are very high as we have top players from all over the world here studying and playing.” Lindenwood is led by Brazilian international, Massao Kohatsu (2554) and the athletic wonder in Jeff Yamada (2462). Yamada was featured in this youtube video highlighting his athleticism to getting each and every ball!

NYU features two current National team players for the United States, Adar Alguetti and Tom Feng. Coach Yanjun Gao of NYU tells us about how their preparation is going, I set up two times a week for our team practice and let everybody go to the gym two or three times before the national. Hope our all players will be fit at national.”  NYU has an initial goal to reach semi-finals this year, but according to Coach Gao, “We always trying to win the Championships of course.”  They will have some formidable opponents, but none so formidable as the mighty Texas Wesleyan Rams.

Texas Wesleyan University is no stranger to this title having won 13 out of the last 14 Coed Team titles! NCTTA President and Tournament Director Willy Leparulo always affectionately compares them to the “New York Yankees of College Table Tennis,” referring to the Major League Baseball team’s historic record of titles.  Coach Jasna Rather leads the program since 2007 and talks about how strong the competition has become, “The competition is each year getting stronger. Coaches and athletes are aware of that, and try to keep up with good competition.”

The Texas Wesleyan Rams are always prepared and now they have more of a home field advantage being in their home state. Rather states, It is great to be back in Round Rock since it is only a few hours drive from Fort Worth, and playing conditions in the gym are superb.”

Come check out this superb facility and tournament championships April 20-22nd at the Round Rock sports center!

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.

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

Women’s Table Tennis Shines at NCTTA Championships

By Andy Kanengiser

NCTTA Media Chair

(Pictured above Wenting Zha of Texas Wesleyan; picture by Grant Bergmann)

Talented women with a passion for table tennis will showcase their favorite Olympic sport on a national stage in Texas.

Players from women’s teams at schools such as as Texas Wesleyan University and the University of California-Berkeley should rise to the occasion at the 2018 championships in Round Rock. Cal-Berkeley is led by Lily Zhang, a Team USA player, who propelled the Lady Bears to a first-place finish at the 2017 championships in Wisconsin.  Texas Wesleyan women were the runner-ups a year ago at the NCTTA’s biggest tournament of the season.

Look for women’s teams at other schools like the University of Minnesota, the University of British Columbia in Canada and Lindenwood University in Missouri to give chase, and win big games, too, in 2018. About 250 of the best collegiate players in the USA and Canada will square off April 20-22 at the Round Rock Sports Center near Austin.

Doru Gheorghe, head coach for the TWU Rams women’s team beginning in May 2016, is again leading another solid group on the Fort Worth campus. He’s a former longtime head coach of the USA women’s national table tennis team. His service there began in 1998.

His Texas Wesleyan roster will include stellar student-athletes like Wenting Zha. Born in China, she’s been a USA resident for some time.

Wenting brings skills to the table with paddle in hand, but she’s also a bright student. She began working on her MBA at Texas Wesleyan last Fall. “She’s a very talented athlete and a great student,’’ says Coach Jasna Rather, who heads the university’s table tennis program. “We are lucky to have someone of her caliber on the team.’’

Wenting Zha shined with her Texas Wesleyan University teammates to achieve a first-place finish at the NCTTA’s 2018 South Regionals. The games were held at the Sid Richardson Center on the Fort Worth campus in late February.

The perennial national champs, Texas Wesleyan captured five of the six championship titles at stake at the NCTTA’s 2017 championships last April in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

At the Texas divisionals in early February, the Texas Wesleyan’s powerful women’s lineup went 3-0, with perfect 4-0 scores. Wenting Zha ended up at the top spot, followed by teammates Yue Wu, Edina Haracic and Viyaleta Manastyrskaya.

It’s hard to say who’s the most talented player on the Lady Rams team.

“Our top three players are at a similar level, and basically share the 1-3 position, and then strong 4 and 5 athletes as well,’’ Rather said.

Other squads the Texas Wesleyan Lady Rams will face in the 2018 championships, she said, “are very strong. It is getting tougher and tougher to make the top 4 in coed and women’s teams,’’ Coach Rather said. “As always, our team will fight hard.’’

Cal-Berkeley’s team received a major boost when Ohlone College table tennis standout Ying Wang transferred to the school. That big announcement came in June 2017. The 22-year-old sensation from China and economics major at Ohlone College didn’t miss a beat when she became a California Bear last Fall. The 5’3” Wang fell in love with the academic environment and zeal that Cal students have for their education.

NCTTA President Willy Leparulo says the women’s teams to beat at the late April tournament will remain Texas Wesleyan University and California-Berkeley.

But he believes other squads will make some noise in Round Rock. “The University of Minnesota and the University of British Columbia are no walk overs,’’ Leparulo said. “These teams feature stars in the making and could make a run at the title.’’

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.

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

Lone Rangers Seek New Friendships and Lasting Experiences in Champs

By Michael Reff

NCTTA Media

(Picture above by Yukong Zhang of Rolland Zhang of Texas A/M University)

It’s that time of year again: the preparations for the 2018 iSET NCTTA College Table Tennis Championships at Round Rock, Texas are in full operation, and college teams are raising last minute funds and squeezing in extra practice sessions to be completely ready for the opportunity of a lifetime. But there are a handful of individuals that have qualified for the single’s competition and not with the team. These bold few are affectionately called the “Lone Rangers.” These are some of their stories.

One might think one of the main quandaries Lone Rangers find themselves in is difficulty interacting with other teams or being perceived as a third wheel since they come alone without accompaniment. This is not the case for Stanford senior Annie Shi.  She’s delighted to be going to Nationals again (she was also in the 2016 Nationals) “because” she says, “that means I’ll get to spend time playing table tennis with my friends and see a lot of my friends from different schools that I haven’t seen since we trained together as kids or competed together back in the day.” She cites the fact that since table tennis is quite a “close-knit community,” it makes her feel at home socializing with other schools. She does however admit that it will be a little difficult not having the physical support of her home team there, but she is still looking forward to making new table tennis acquaintances.

Along the same vein of Annie, 20-year-old Yash Shah of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was elated to learn of qualifying for the Nationals, and is also looking forward to meeting up again with old and new friends. One of his old friends happens to be Mudit, a former teammate of Yash’s when they were on a state team in India. Yash has mixed emotions about being a Lone Ranger; on the one hand he is ecstatic about being able to play in Nationals again, and on the other hand he is going to feel down “as I will miss my teammates as both my previous Nationals I have attended it has been with my team. It’s also hard to convince the University to fund the trip for an individual as compared to a team.”

Another Lone Ranger, 30-year-old PhD candidate Keighobad Jafarzadegan of Purdue University, stated that this experience would be the only time he has qualified for the event at this level, and it would be his last time as well. Like Yash, he cited difficulty obtaining funds from the university for an individual, as well as an overwhelming amount of studies involved with his PhD candidacy in civil engineering. He has fought through these hardships though and is still determined to play his last year of eligibility out in Round Rock, Texas on April 20-22.

Finally, Rolland Zhang is a 19-year-old Computer Science student who attends Texas A&M University. Rolland was thrilled to qualify for Nationals this year because of the proximity of his school to Round Rock. He was sad that his team, which almost obtained a wildcard, did not qualify for the Championships this year. Rolland does however have an advantage over several of the Lone Rangers in the fact that his team captain Eldon Luo will be coming with him to help coach. Although one of the lowest seeds in the tournament with a 1909 rating Rolland has ambitious goals for the Nationals, hoping to create several upsets over much higher rated players.

To all the Lone Rangers out there who have braved the table tennis trek alone and with minimal funding and support: We salute you!

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.

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 Family Affair in California

By Andy Kanengiser

NCTTA Media Chair

The Silicon Valley remains a table tennis hotbed in California.

The center of the USA's sophisticated high-tech universe is a breeding ground for big companies as well as startups with tons of smart people hooked on computers. Computers are their passion and surround their careers.        

Drive around San Jose and suburbs like Milpitas, and visitors will discover really nice table tennis clubs. People compete at the region's clubs and keep their table tennis paddles and balls in constant motion at home. The Chu family in this Santa Clara County near San Jose and Fremont is definitely all in for table tennis.

Look for three members of the Chu family from Milpitas to showcase their skills at the 2018 NCTTA championships in Round Rock, Texas. It will be the first time all three Chu siblings competed at the same time at the NCTTA's biggest tournament of the season. Come to the Round Rock Sports Center April 20-22 to see them in action.

Anthony Chu, 19, is a freshman studying computer science and math at the University of California San Diego. Besides playing on his college table tennis team at UCSD, Anthony enjoys playing guitar and running.

Big brother Nathaniel Chu, 21, is a UCLA senior and computer science major. He plays with a high degree of skill on the Bruins table tennis team. Nathaniel's hobbies include guitar and working out.

Let's not forget Isabel Chu, 20, a UCLA junior. She's a talented table tennis player with the Lady Bruins team. When she's not slamming and spinning table tennis balls, Isabel is a bright physiological science major. Her hobbies are baking and hiking.

Whether the Chu siblings win or lose games in the Lone Star State in late April, they will always give it their all. They will contest every point. It's just how they approach the sport at home or on the road. The two brothers and sister enjoy competing against each other. It makes them better players.

"We have some rivalries,'' Isabel Chu says. "We believe that it makes us improve because of our competitive spirits.''

At the national championships there will be at least 250 players participating for three days. "We like to think of college table tennis players as one big family,'' says NCTTA President Willy Leparulo. "But in the case of the Chu family and a few others, it's really pretty special to see them play.''

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.

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

 

Twin Brothers Propel Toledo Rockets Table Tennis

By Andy Kanengiser

NCTTA Media Chair

Twin brothers from India are helping drive the University of Toledo Rockets Table Tennis team.

The 20-year-olds from Mumbai are both studying mechanical engineering when they are not pounding Double Fish table tennis balls at the Ohio school.

Players at schools across the USA and Canada should see the pair of identical twins at the NCTTA’s 2018 championship games in Round Rock, Texas. Catch the Thorats in action April 20-22 in the Lone Star State.

It’s hard to overstate the value of Chaitanya Thorat and Nachiket Thorat to the awesome Toledo team this season. After all, the brothers from India helped Toledo defeat heavyweight rival Ohio State in the NCTTA’s Fall and Spring Divisional tournaments.

The Thorats are proud to say the Toledo Rockets clinched the university’s first table tennis title in the Ohio West Division this season. The Buckeyes of OSU are a huge in-state rival. Toledo finished as the runner-up the previous season during the divisional matches. The Ohio State team from Columbus was No. 1 in the division a year ago.

The Thorat brothers not only look alike. With paddles in hand, they both speak the common international language of table tennis. They are passionate about the lively Olympic sport.

“We love the adrenaline and playing under pressure,’’ says Nachiket Thorat. “For us, table tennis is like a game of chess. We have to plan our next move in order to win.’’

Playing singles or team events at school, the Thorat brothers quickly joined Toledo’s “A’’ team last season. They first learned there was an NCTTA team on the Toledo campus by talking to two guys playing at the dorm recreation center. One thing led to another, and they signed up.

For the twin brothers born on October 2, it wasn’t a case of them being table tennis rookies when they became Toledo undergraduates. They began playing in the fifth grade and kept going until they were 10th graders.

The Thorat brothers picked up the sport again at Toledo, a growing university enrolling 16,247 undergraduates as well as professional students at the Toledo Medical Center.

In NCAA Division 1 sports, the Toledo Rockets compete in the Mid-American Conference and its teams do quite well. The Toledo Rockets women’s soccer team coached by T.J. Buchholz recently finished this past season as the reigning Mid-American women’s soccer champs. Toledo competes against Midwest schools like Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green and Dayton.

The brothers are helping put table tennis on the map on the Toledo campus.

So who’s better at table tennis? Chaitanya or Nachiket?

When the twin brothers clash, the matches are always close. But usually Nachiket wins.

Competing against one another is fun, but they really enjoy taking part in team events. “We are playing for our teammates, too,’’ Nachiket says.

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.

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

 

US Olympic Hopeful Leads Binghamton to Collegiate TT Championships

Binghamton features an Olympic Table Tennis hopeful for 2020, Kai Zhang. Binghamton University has never been to the National Championships and is poised to be one of the best teams yet! This may be their first time as a team at the College Table Tennis Championships but they are brimming with confidence in their first year.

Binghamton not only survived but dominated their division tournaments and came in 4th in the Regional Championships in Canada earning a wildcard into the Championships. Team leader Julio Almonte states, “We are very proud to see our school qualify for such an event, we believe that it is a great opportunity for all of our players to showcase their talents.”

Talents is a bit of an understatement perhaps as Kai Zhang and Akshay Gadikar are featured in Men’s doubles and will look to win also in the team event. Zhang is an Olympic hopeful and Gadikar an Indian international majoring in Computer Science.

Back home in Binghamton, New York, the club is very tight knit with many of their non playing club members glued to the live stream and championship website to see how their team is doing. This is their 2nd year as a competitive program within the Campus Recreation Sport club program. Almonte says, “WE hope that our continuing success will impress our club’s goals and dedication.”

The College Table Tennis Championships is a different event from any other competition in North America in that all tables will have umpires and scorekeepers, and rules that normally are not as strict will be this time. Almonte goes on to say, “Even though our players have played in some of the best facilities in the country, they haven’t played on tournament flooring with umpires throughout this school year (excluding individual tournaments they have participated in). That being said, I’m sure these facilities will live right up to their expectations.”

Binghamton is seeded #16 out of 24 Men’s/Coed teams and while that isn’t the highest seeding, they shouldn’t be trifled with by some of the other school teams. Almonte states, “It is hard to predict where we will place as a team, as this is the first time we are sending out a full team to nationals. We recognize that the level of play will be much greater in regards to the divisional and regional tournaments, and we have been training in preparation for the tournament.” This is why we play because on any given day in Sports, anything can happen.

Tune in April 20-22nd to the 2018 iSET College Table Tennis Championships!

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.

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

 

Volunteer Dennis Yanga Serves NCTTA Champs in Video Production

By Andy Kanengiser

NCTTA Media Chair

Cornell University graduate Dennis Yanga brought much to the table as he worked video productions at the NCTTA’s 2017 championships.

A bright 27-year-old, Yanga grew up near New York City. He’s one of the awesome members of the NCTTA’s team of volunteers making the national championships such a success each season.

After winning kudos for his assistance at the three-day NCTTA tournament in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Dennis will return to the 2018 games in Round Rock, Texas.

“My favorite thing about volunteering with the NCTTA is how much passion and energy everyone has,’’ Yanga said. “It’s a joy being able to work with people that share the same interest in table tennis.’’

Yanga was pretty passionate about hitting the books at Cornell. He earned a MEng in chemical engineering degree from the Ivy League school in 2013. He now works for a company called EaglePicher Technologies.

After graduating from Cornell in Ithaca, New York, Dennis moved to Joplin, Missouri. He worked in the Midwest as a research and development engineer for a company that develops batteries for space, medical and military applications. He continues to play his favorite Olympic sport at the Joplin Table Tennis Club. He volunteers with the group in the Show Me State as an umpire, coach and certified referee.

It's fun stuff. “We host tournaments and have had a few NCTTA players/alumni show up to our previous events.’’

At the NCTTA nationals, Yanga loves being involved in the video work. It’s rewarding as he hears stories of fans across the USA and the globe watching exciting table tennis action live on computer screens.

 “Video production plays a key role in helping alumni support their former teams at Nationals and Regionals with live streams,’’ Yanga said. “It gives alumni a chance to relive Nationals and feel like they are still cheering on their friends and teammates.’’

Dennis also was busy creating last year’s NCTTA Nationals promo video.

The Cornell grad’s really got a good sense for what it’s like to play collegiate table tennis on a big stage. He competed for Cornell’s coed team in NCTTA divisional and regional matches. Dennis traveled to Rockford, Illinois for the 2013 NCTTA championships. He pitched in as the coach of the Cornell women’s team swatting table tennis balls in the Land of Lincoln.

Each year, the NCTTA’s largest tournament of the year attracts more than 250 of the best collegiate table tennis players in the USA and Canada. That will be the case at the 2018 games near Austin April 20-22.

“Volunteers like Dennis Yanga do incredible work at the nationals and other major tournaments all season,’’ said NCTTA President Willy Leparulo. “We never can thank them enough.’’

Championship volunteers like Shelly Huang-Leparulo greets visitors with a smile at the registration tables. Media commentators like NCTTA Vice President Joseph Wells offer insightful analysis to make the games a memorable experience for the fans. The same goes for other hard working volunteers like Ed & Diana Hogshead, Chris Wang, David Del Vecchio, Michael Hillard, Scott Ryan, Kagin Lee, Randy Kendle (and many more).

There were about 75 volunteers helping at the 2017 championships in Wisconsin. But NCTTA officials say they could always use a few more good ones at the 2018 games or next season.

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.

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

New Schools to Compete in Championships

Pictured above are members of UT Arlington Table Tennis team that will participate at the Championships

What do Arizona State, Bryn Mawr College, Brandeis, Binghamton, Santa Monica College, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Texas at Arlington, University of Toledo, Wichita State and Wright State University have in common? They are all new schools to the 2018 iSET College Table Tennis Championships! Each with their own history and story to tote.

Binghamton features an Olympic Table Tennis hopeful for 2020, Kai Zhang. Binghamton University has never been to the National Championships and is poised with one of the best teams yet!

Another school sure to turn heads is all the way over on the west coach in beautiful sunny Santa Monica College in California. SMC is sending their top two players Indian International Ayush Kapoor and Italian international Tiziano Aiello. They are competing in Men’s singles and Men’s doubles. SMC is appearing for the first time in the College Table Tennis Championships this year and looks to surprise the draw.

Tiziano Aiello Italian international is excited about the event and their chances stating, “This is my second NCTTA tournament as I played for UCLA in 2016. It is definitely an honor for our college being at this college National Championships. Furthermore it is really impressive how a table tennis college tournament is that well organized. In double we might be a surprise. Playing with Ayush Kapoor, a 2450 long pips aggressive player, give us a unique game of both power attacks and slow defense when is needed. Thus our expectations in double are really high.”

Brandeis University out of the Northeast is very strong but no one knows about them and Team Captain, Brian Gao states “We are the underdog, but if some teams don’t take us seriously, there is a chance we can win” This is true in all sports and especially in College Table Tennis where the best of the best have congregated.

Wright State University in Ohio features two players in the event. Joshua Cabay talks to us, “This is the first time Wright State has been represented at a Championships. I Feel honored to be able to compete against players of this caliber”

Last but certainly not least is University of Texas at Arlington which is sending 3 singles players to this event 1 woman and 2 men. UTA as they are called features Texas Wesleyan Alumni, Yahao Zhang as their coach. Vikas Sagi, playing in Men’s singles and Doubles, has many to thank for the team’s success, “Yahao Zhang is the biggest reason for this achievement. I am very thankful for his advice and belief in us throughout the year. I would like to specially thank our sponsors Ready Real Estate (Khanty, Realtor) and HappySpin Table Tennis Club for their support. Also I appreciate Mr. Scott Ryan for being there every time i needed him for any advice.” Sagi eloquently states about their chances, “The odd say I am an underdog, but I believe low aim is a crime. I will be eyeing the title.”

It is a crime indeed to give up before the first point! Year after year similar faces and schools come in, but it is always nice to see the rookies come in and shake things up.

Look out for these schools and others at the 2018 iSET College Table Tennis Championships!

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.

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

 

Coach with Recent NCTTA Experience Bolsters Bryn Mawr Team

By Michael Reff

NCTTA Media Committee

Temple University class of 2017 alum Daniel Moon is currently the coach of the Bryn Mawr women’s table tennis team, a group of players that have successfully qualified for the 2018 iSet NCTTA Championships in Round Rock, TX April 20-22. He studied biophysics with a pre-pharmacy path. In addition to coaching the up and coming Bryn Mawr Owls, he holds a position in the pharmacy division at a human services company called Merakey and work’s part-time at SPIN Philadelphia. Furthermore, due to being an ITTF level 1 coach, he privately coaches table tennis as well.

You might be asking how a male table tennis player arrived at coaching a historically all female (nowadays graduate admissions is open to both genders) college’s team. Well as in most good things in life, it happened with a little coincidental networking. Back in Daniel’s senior year at Temple, he was participating in the men’s singles regionals tournament in North Carolina. Since it was a long trip, he stayed the weekend, and although he is an avid churchgoer, he had to miss church that weekend.  A girl who attended the church and Bryn Mawr college inquired about why he missed church, and Daniel related the story of playing in NCTTA regionals. By chance, the girl said she oversaw the table tennis team at Bryn Mawr, and that the team was looking for a coach with more experience to lead the team. Daniel relates that he was delighted to be told this and thought it would be a great chance for him to bolster his coaching abilities, while also spreading the joy of playing table tennis to other schools in the Pennsylvania area. 

Ironically, Daniel’s experiences without having coaches during his tenure playing NCTTA tournaments have helped shape his coaching perspectives in a beneficial way. He says, “As a former athlete for NCTTA at Temple University, I can confidently say that my experience in NCTTA has done nothing but help with my coaching at Bryn Mawr University. During my time at Temple University... I was only able to qualify to the next level through the Men's Singles event. As I participated in the regional and national tournaments, most times alone because my teammates were unable to qualify, I would see other teams interacting with their coaches, getting crucial advice and tips on opponents' weaknesses, and I realized the importance of having a coach in such situations.”

Many table tennis players and aspiring athletes in general would have taken the experience of not having a coach as being a detriment to their improvement as player and future coaches, but Daniel has spun it into something productive. He has taken these years in NCTTA as teachable building blocks to successfully coaching the Bryn Mawr women’s team to a nationals. How is the team preparing for the big day? With lots of training, according to Daniel. “Qualifying for nationals as a first-year team in NCTTA brings us great joy and excitement, but also instills a slight fear and intimidation as we know very well that there are very strong women's teams throughout the country. Regardless, our women's team has been working hard to up their game, practicing not only during our weekly sessions at Bryn Mawr College, but also practicing at the couple available local clubs throughout the weekdays.” Congratulations Daniel on coaching the Bryn Mawr women’s team to contend at the nationals and happy ponging Bryn Mawr Owls!

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.

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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