Pongcast Poetry--

So we challenged our NCTTA poetry master, Mike Reff to rhyme Pongcast and Nittaku thinking it would be impossible....how wrong were we lol

Check out the Pongcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJ1x5M6EnQ4 (familiar voice, NCTTA ALUM, Adam Bobrow)

I know sometimes I can be a verbal bombast,
But I’ve been challenged to rhyme something with pongcast.
With the voice of table tennis, and sponsored by Nittaku,
NCTTA Alum Adam Bobrow rocks the mic through.
Touching on subjects like world rankings and future competitions,
2021’s looking brighter with WTT’s broader vision.
Another newsworthy moment is the group of foreign players,
That ponged in China’s Super League and provided further diplomatic layers.
One such player, NCTTA’s very own alum Lily Zhang,
Three-time Olympian star and collegiate, the very essence of passion for pong.
Channeling the Berkeley Bears and her own team USA,
She uttered out another cry for the Super League “Go Team Koala!” all the way!

NCTTA Announces Changes to 2020-21 Season

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA) has canceled its entire 2020-21 season. The Collegiate Table Tennis Championships at the Round Rock Sports Center will not be held this year. The safety of our student-athletes and volunteers remains the highest priority.

The NCTTA is evaluating all options for a potential summer off-season competition, and is eagerly awaiting the beginning of our 2021-22 season. More announcements will follow shortly. The NCTTA wants to thank all of our sponsors, volunteers and athletes for their support. We are excited and remain optimistic for the 2021-22 season. Please reach out to info@nctta.org if you have any questions.

Thank you again for all of your ongoing support and understanding through these challenging times. We hear you and are very encouraged by your affirmation of our past decisions to put safety first - as we look on to make the present ones.

-NCTTA Board of Directors

Giving Back-NCTTA "Amazon Smile"

COVID-19 has shut down our normal way of life and if you find yourself on Amazon "perusing" as we all do we hope you think about NCTTA!

Most Everyone uses Amazon and if you wouldn't mind signing up with "Smile Amazon" a portion of whatever you spend goes to NCTTA. It is Amazon for not-for-profits like NCTTA!

For Smart phone use click here and for web use click here


If you don't use Amazon, you may simply consider donating by clicking here

Beating those Table Tennis Blues

NCTTA has its own "poet laureate", NCTTA Alum from Hofstra and Florida State University (Michael "Mike" Reff).

For all in Table Tennis struggling with not being able to play/train/compete because of COVID...this is for you!

We know you're hurting
You all are yearning
To play our favorite sport again,
And though you're ready,
Fall semester's not steady,
Unfortunately, till Spring we wait then.
So what are you doing?
Spare time is accruing,
And though it is hard to get in those ponging hours.
Through practice and fitness,
Recruiting hype vids, we'll beat this,
Make lemonade from those lemons so sour.

NCTTA Fall 2020 Semester--ANNOUNCEMENT

Hello NCTTA College Table Tennis athletes, coaches, staff, and fans.

These are unprecedented times that we are currently living in. The Pandemic has proved that we must make difficult decisions and this is one of them. On behalf of the NCTTA Board of Directors, we are suspending the Fall 2020 semester of sanctioned NCTTA play. There will be no division tournaments in NCTTA for the Fall 2020 semester.

We consulted with legal counsel, medical staff for advice, and insurance carriers prior to making our decision. It is in the best interest and safety of all of our athletes, coaches, and staff that we suspend our Fall 2020 season. No decision has been made for the Spring 2021 Division, Regional, and National Championships as of yet. We are, of course, hopeful to continue the season then. The 2021 iSET College Table Tennis Championships is set to be at Round Rock, Texas April 8-10th weekend (see picture of a past year in Round Rock). We truly hope for the best moving forward.

NCTTA will hold monthly "town halls" for coaches and club contacts during the Fall semester to catch up with those who want more information or have questions.

Thanks for your understanding and support

Willy Leparulo
NCTTA Board of Directors

Table Tennis Players Compete for Tokyo Paralympics

By Andy Kanengiser
NCTTA Media Chair

Ian Phillip Seidenfeld suffers from a medical disorder affecting all four limbs to require multiple corrective surgeries on his legs.

The 18-year-old University of Minnesota freshman is passionate about table tennis. Ian's played the Olympic sport since he was an 11-year-old para player at a San Diego tournament. Fast forward to 2020, and Ian qualified for the 2021 Tokyo Paralympics. Ian is ranked No. 3, U-23 and #16 among all in class 6.

"I'm excited that I qualified, Qualifying is an important step towards my ultimate goal, and I hope to accomplish much more next year in Tokyo,'' Seidenfeld said.

Ian Seidenfeld representing USA Table Tennis © Sportida (Celje, 2018)

Also selected for the Tokyo Paralympics: Tahl Leibovitz, the ex-NYU standout, and Jenson Van Emburgh, a talented Naples, Florida native, the USATT announced in July. Jenson is No. 1 in the world, U-23, and #11 among all in class 3 and will attend Florida Southern in the Fall 2020, while Tahl is No. 10 in the world in class 9, reports USA Table Tennis in their July announcement.

Jenson, 20, is a class 3 wheelchair athlete who has a spinal cord injury that happened at birth. He tried sports like sled hockey, wheelchair tennis and wheelchair basketball before discovering table tennis. He was chosen to the U.S. Junior Para National Team for five straight years.

"We are all very proud of Team USA players. Tahl will have a chance to fight for another Paralympic gold,'' said Jasna Rather, USATT Director of Para Programs.

For Tahl, the 45-year-old New Yorker is entering his sixth Paralympic games. "I think this will be the best ever. I am looking forward to an amazing experience with my teammates.''

Tahl in his playing days at NYU!

Tahl thanked his wife, family and coaches. He will train every day until the games begin. "It's always an honor to represent the United States,'' Leibovitz said. The social worker is a member of the PING Pod club.

Leibovitz looks forward to teaming with Jenson and Ian. "I think we have a good chance to do very well. Ian is a great competitor and good fighter. We have one year to get fully ready. I am looking forward to the Team USA preparation.''

For Ian, it's been a lengthy journey that's taken much hard work and determination. Seidenfeld suffers from pseudoachondroplasia dwarfism.

Fast forward to 2017, and Ian began training for the Paralympics for table tennis. It's been a pretty positive run ever since.

In November 2017, Ian played at the ParaPanama Championships to qualify for the 2018 World Championships. "I played the tournament with broken legs held together by the metal detectors implanted to correct my legs. I finished 2nd in the tournament and later qualified for the 2018 SPINT World Championships by my ranking.''

Ian, who grew up in Lakeville, Minnesota, and attended the University of Minnesota this past season, wasn't done competing. The 2019 Para Panam Games was next and he qualified for the Tokyo games. The Paralympics was moved from 2020 to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ian considers 2017 to be his breakout year because he began it ranked 31st in the world in men's Class six. He finished the year ranked 12th in the world in class six. To elevate his ranking, he won the 2017 Spanish Open Class six singles and Bayreuth Open Class six singles.

University of Minnesota table tennis coach John Tranter has known Ian quite well. John's table tennis coach, Mitchell Seidenfeld, is Ian's father. Mitchell has four medals from Paralympic games, including gold in Barcelona in 1992.

"Ian and Mitch have an incredible relationship,'' John Tranter said. "It's not easy to have a parent as a coach. But there is no one better positioned to be a great mentor to Ian than Mitch.''

Tranter appreciates what Ian Seidenfeld brings to the University of Minnesota Table Tennis Club. "He is always the first to volunteer to contribute to the behind the scenes aspects of running any club,'' from fundraising to grant writing. "His affable personality has made him indispensable in maintaining a positive culture within our club and team.''

Ian in the center with his University of Minnesota teammates at the recent 2020 NCTTA Midwest Regionals

Pandemic Nostalgia has Hetherington Excited for NCTTA 2021

By Michael Reff

Matt Hetherington has been a table tennis mainstay in the United States for several years in the coaching and media fields. Originally hailing from New Zealand, Hetherington started playing when he was 8 years old, and reached a pinnacle of achievement by representing his country in the World Champs on three occasions. For quite some time Hetherington was USATT's Media and Communications director, but he recently moved on from the position on March 1st of this year. He says he was "supposed to be moving on to another opportunity in table tennis," but the pandemic unfortunately put a damper on that prospect.

Still, Hetherington has been keeping himself very productive while in quarantine and in almost complete isolation for close to 3 months. "The first couple of weeks all I could really do was work out every day and I did my best to start going nuts on my social media," he noted. This included bringing up old blog posts on his website and creating new coaching videoss by successfully challenging himself to produce 30 tutorials in 30 days.

All in all he created 44 coaching tutorial videos ranging many topics from serve and receive to short pimple play and chopping.

The pandemic isolation period has left him feeling nostalgic about many areas of table tennis, his NCTTA experiences being among them.

Before becoming involved with NCTTA as a commentator, Hetherington was already briefly a student-athlete in 2017 for Pillar College alongside the likes of Olympians Tim Wang and Lily Yip. He reached the Nationals that school year and placed 5th in the team event, reaching the quarterfinals in the doubles with Wang and the last 32 in the singles. His lasting memories with the experience fueled his ambition to commit to helping the national event each year. Although Hetherington discontinued his studies, he longed to return. "I feel like college table tennis is quite a significant part of the culture of the sport in this country," he stated, "having experienced it first hand, it was something I really wanted to continue to be a part of."

He commentated in the 2018 and 2019 Nationals and was committed to return in 2020 before the eventual cancellation.

Hetherington plans to reprise his role as commentator for NCTTA during the 2021 Champs held in Round Rock, Texas. He says that a positive aspect of commentating with the volunteer organization is that you get to work with many diverse people. Also, he observes that many of the NCTTA commentators have volunteered with NCTTA for a long time. "In the beginning I felt like it was a really good opportunity to try and improve the relationship between USATT and NCTTA," Hetherington said. "I felt that there was a lot of value in building the partnership there and I genuinely see that College Table Tennis has all the elements that this sport needs to grow in the USA - the team atmosphere, the promotion of table tennis in schools and the continuation of table tennis competition during college study."

Yes, being in the thick of things while observing and participating in the ubiquitous #loudnproud cheering by schools is quite the invigorating experience for volunteers and players alike.

Hetherington holds NCTTA in high esteem, considering it to possess an excellent "blueprint structure to look at when thinking about regionalization or a professional league" for table tennis in the USA. He says NCTTA's qualification system and geographical progression from divisionals to regionals and then nationals along with the team aspect of college table tennis is what make it a worthy ponging paradigm to emulate in the long run.

And regarding other NCTTA volunteers who work tirelessly to promote college table tennis, Hetherington said, "At the end of the day you need people who are passionate enough who will put in that amount of work and are satisfied purely with having pulled off the end result, as a volunteer organization I can see that the NCTTA has the right people involved."

As coaching for Hetherington soon returns to the Lily Yip TTC with pandemic restrictions being lifted, we wish him the safest and most productive return to the sport we all love. Tune in April 2021 at Round Rock, Texas to hear and watch Matt Hetherington commentate along with the rest of our stellar volunteer staff!

2020 Superlative Winners

Despite the season closing earlier than planned, we still wanted to commend some of the many outstanding members of our community!
We've received and read through many great nominations - thank you for all the great call outs - but alas, here are the winners for this year's superlatives:

- Male Athlete of the Year – Haolun Cheng, Univ of Minnesota
- Female Athlete of the Year – Angela Guan, UC Berkeley
- Rookie of the Year – Robert He (UC Santa Barbara)
- Coach of the Year – Andrew Tan, UMASS Amherst
- Rookie Team – Embry Riddle (Northern FL division)
- Division Director of the Year – Nancy Zhou, Lower New England DD
- Regional Director of the Year – Rishabh Srivastava, Midwest RD

2020 Elections Results

Results of the Board of Directors elections:

  • Willy Leparulo has been reelected as President
  • Jay Lu has been reelected as League Director Representative
  • Tae Kim will be the new Vice President Internal, with more votes than Rishabh Srivastava
  • Stephanie Shih will be the new Human Resources Coordinator, with more votes than Brandon Lawrence

The new 4-year term for each of them will begin July 1.
Thanks to all who ran and all who voted!

Best of the Best--NCTTA 2020

Nominate someone today for the NCTTA Superlatives!
Deadline is May 30th.

-Email your nomination and WHY to info@nctta.org by the deadline.

Categories are here
Male Athlete of the Year
Female Athlete of the Year
Rookie of the Year
Coach of the Year
Rookie Team
Division Director of the Year
Regional Director of the Year

*Rookie Teams are school teams that have never participated in the NCTTA (Subject to NCTTA historical records)

*Rookie of the year are players new to College Table Tennis (they can be any year Freshman/sophomore/junior/senior/graduate student) also subject to NCTTA historical records

*Division and Regional Directors must be current to 2019-20 competition year

Winners are awarded a gift card!