Iowa Team Salutes Founders

By Andy Kanengiser

NCTTA Media Chair
 
Iowa table tennis players owe a debt of gratitude to longtime NCTTA volunteers Jarol and Leah Duerksen. (seen above)
 
After all, the Iowa City couple opened their home to table tennis games for years. They did their best to push for the creation of an Iowa Hawkeyes team. It took plenty of twists and turns, but their persistence paid off.
 
The Iowa Hawkeyes team is alive and well and playing at their 2nd NCTTA National championships. At the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the Duerksens are overseeing the tournament practice tables. It's a labor of love for the longtime volunteers.
 
As the games opened on the school's McPhee Center, Iowa players commended the senior citizens for turning their table tennis dream into reality.
 
"The Duerksens always volunteer and push the NCTTA,'' said team coach Meng-Yu Wang, 27, of Kansas City, Missouri. "They really support our team.''
 
Their commitment is huge and Iowa table tennis is on the upswing. Iowa hosted the NCTTA Regionals in the Spring. That was a big deal for a team now in its 2nd year.
 
There are nine Iowa players at the national championships in the Chippewa Valley of north Wisconsin. Almost the entire team will return next season.
 
Hawkeyes table tennis is here to stay. After a couple of years of practices in a small area on the fifth floor of a recreation building, the team finally got space in a large gym on the Iowa City campus. Dues for players have gone up from $10 for the whole year to $25 per semester. Revenue is key to the squad's growth. The team recently purchased a dozen NCTTA tables.Players frequently go to practices before hitting the books.
 
Dylan Garland, 19, of Ankeny, Iowa, loves the steady advances of his team in a state located in the Corn Belt.After his singles battle with a strong Michigan player, Dylan clearly takes table tennis seriously. But Garland also knows there is life after table tennis. He's studying actuarial science at Iowa and hopes to be prepared for the insurance business.
 
Born in Taiwan, Coach Wang, 27, takes the game seriously, too. He drives nearly five hours from Kansas City to help the Iowa team. The Iowa State graduate believes the future of table tennis shines bright at Iowa.
 

The 2017 TMS College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and the Eau Claire 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

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 7th and continues through Sunday April 9th. 

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

Travel Issues Impact Table Tennis Tournament

By Andy Kanengiser
NCTTA Media Chair
 
Storms, cancelled flights and weary travelers seem to be par for the course when the NCTTA's biggest tournament of the year rolls around.
 
It's the case once again in Eau Claire, Wisconsin at the NCTTA championships April 7-9. Some college players drove all the way from Toronto, while others from New York were on the road for many hours, too. But for players from nearby schools like Minnesota and Wisconsin, the trip to the Chippewa Valley was a breeze.
 
Yale sophomore Angus Fong, 20, of Hong Kong was pretty smart about his journey to Eau Claire in north Wisconsin. "I left enough buffer time,'' said the cognitive science major. Flying from New York to Chicago went well until one of his Chicago flights got cancelled. But he still made it to Eau Claire, and that's the main thing. It was a 12-hour journey. At the tournament, Angus gives it his best shot at men's singles competition. Fong also brought his computer to keep up with his studies at the Ivy League school in New Haven, Connecticut.
 
Nearby, in the hotel lobby at the Clarion hotel, the University of Maryland coach reported no major issues getting here as he downed a cup of coffee.
 
As far as the distance, University of  California- San Diego player Andrew Shehata, 23, said his 7-hour trip went fairly smoothly. A five hour flight to Minneapolis and a two-hour drive to Eau Claire was his route. "It was all perfect.''
 
Two years ago at the same University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire venue, the UC-San Diego team finished in 14th place. This year his school hopes to do even better.
 
The championships will wrap up Andrew's NCTTA career (he's played 4 years). The Orange County, California senior  returns to school next fall to on his college degree.
 
Eau Claire bound, the University of British Columbia-Vancouver arrived with a women's team and its coed squad. It was a 3-hour flight from Canada to Minneapolis and a ninety minute drive to Eau Claire. "Everything went well. So far, so good,'' said Chandra Madhosingh,an NCTTA volunteer umpire and the team's coaching director. Five women and two men from UBC joined the astrophysics professor as they hopped about the NCTTA shuttle bus. It was going to the tournament venue, the McPhee Center. The games began Friday morning.
 
Northeastern University player Michael Wang, 20, of Boston, voiced no complaints about his trip.
 
"Travel was smooth as planned,'' said Wang, a computer science major. He and other members of the Northeastern Huskies team flew from Boston to Minneapolis and drove the rest of the way in a rental vehicle to Eau Claire. Their seven-hour trip was all good. The weather in Wisconsin was chilly and windy. But that's what the students experience in New England this time of year in early April.
 
For Michael Wang, it's his first time playing at the NCTTA nationals, and he seemed rested after catching a quick breakfast at the hotel.
 
Players from other colleges seemed a bit sleep-deprived as they headed to the competition in Wisconsin Friday morning with energy snacks, orange juice, coffee, and water.
 
One of the SUNY at Stony Brook Seawolves players, Sho Miyazaki, 21, of Queens, New York, will appear at his first and final NCTTA nationals. Sho graduates with a degree in biology in May. "I'm very excited. It's like the Senior Ball for me,'' Sho said with a smile. Post-graduation plans? He starts working, but promises to keep playing his favorite Olympic sport in metro New York at places like the Westchester Table Tennis Center. "I love the sport.''
 

The 2017 TMS College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and the Eau Claire 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

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 7th and continues through Sunday April 9th. 

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 Titans Face More Battles in Wisconsin

By Andy Kanengiser

NCTTA Media Chair

Table tennis stars from Texas Wesleyan University and Mississippi College collided for five years in a row at the NCTTA championship games.

Fans wonder if the script will repeat itself at the 2017 tournament in Eau Claire, Wisconsin April 7-9. Time will tell as 260 stellar college players and coaches across the USA and Canada pack their paddles for three days of lively games.

Some observers predict a sixth straight Finals showdown between Texas Wesleyan and MC in the TMS tournament. MC’s lone national triumph for its coed team happened at the same Eau Claire venue in 2015. A narrow 12-10 win by MC in doubles decided the intense match as audiences watched via live streaming on their computers.

The MC Choctaws victory two years ago was historic in collegiate table tennis circles. MC knocked off a strong Texas Wesleyan bunch that arrived at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a phenomenal 11 consecutive national coed team titles. But the Texas Wesleyan Rams players responded and secured its 12th national coed team championship in March 2016 in Round Rock in the Lone Star State.

When the 2017 TMS championships arrive, Jasna Rather, head of the Texas Wesleyan table tennis program, and fellow coaches will have their squad ready. Same is true for Cheng Li, coach of the powerful MC team and the squad’s former all-star captain.

Texas Wesleyan Rams standouts like Jishan Liang, Zhe Feng, Bruno Dos Anjos Ventura, Chen Wang and Jennifer Wu, to name a few, will pack their paddles for the Dairy State. They expect to rack up wins in Wisconsin no matter who they face.

Mississippi College stars like Tomo Yoshitomi of Japan, plus, Qing Wei Sun and Yichi Zhang, all of China, also journey to Eau Claire with high hopes. An MC senior studying computer science, Yichi Zhang, 22, is the reigning 2016 men’s singles champ. A 19-year-old accounting major, Jeremy Gore of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas rounds out the five-man Blue & Gold squad from Clinton, Mississippi.

Other schools will give chase, including California’s Ohlone College, the two-year school gaining third-place in their debut at the 2016 championships near Austin, Texas. Lindenwood University of Missouri remains one of the toughest veteran teams coming to the nationals every spring. Snow, strong winds, rain or sunshine, the weather doesn’t seem to matter to the Lindenwood Lions. But bad weather can make travel difficult for a number of teams, from one year to the next.

A few things are certain. Organizers expect about 900 Double Fish balls will be used during the NCTTA’s biggest tournament of the year. It really starts Thursday with team registration at the hotel and evening practices before the games begin for real Friday April 7. It’s always a treat for fans of the Olympic sport.

The team with the shortest distance to travel? That would be the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the host school. Not too far away is the University of Minnesota, that’s a ninety minute drive from Minneapolis. Players from universities in San Diego, California and Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada and Gainesville, Florida should have the longest journey by air.

Spectators checking out the table tennis teams with the loudest fan base might want to wear ear plugs at times. Brown University table tennis fans bring a reputation for being loud and proud. The same is true with Texas Wesleyan University. No doubt, Texas Wesleyan Rams will arrive in Wisconsin with a large contingent of players, coaches and fans who love the perennial national champs with terrific players from all around the globe.

The 2017 TMS College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and the Eau Claire 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

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 7th and continues through Sunday April 9th. 

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

Men’s and Women’s Doubles Packs a Punch

(picture by Bill Zhang)

By Willy Leparulo

NCTTA Championship Committee

NCTTA was built on a College Table Tennis team approach with a four singles and one double type of format. Doubles is an interesting event in that it is not actively practices in any of the Division or Regional competitions in NCTTA yet it is a Championship event. Even more it is only played when the match is tied 2 to 2 which brings these doubles duos just all the more pride when they can do it within the event.

In Women’s Doubles, the top pair are Texas Wesleyan’s Wang Chen and Jennifer Yue Wu. Chen and Wu are incredible as singles players in their own right with multiple success both domestically and internationally. Chen and Wu have not played a competitive match this season, but have a good shot. Coach Rather says, “Wesleyan doubles are strong but that does not guarantee titles. Athletes representing different national teams are taking part of this competition and everyone is aiming for titles.” Prachi Jha and Lily Zhang of UC Berkeley have a similar backstory to the top seeds too as they have many individual accolades but also haven’t played a competitive match this season in doubles.  A dark horse in the event could come in the form of the Princeton duo which have former US International, Erica Wu and Canadian star, Shirley Fu. The lefty righty combo is always a danger in doubles.

Men’s Doubles is equally competitive with 3 out of the top 4 doubles teams having played together in previous years. Doubles is about teamwork and chemistry and nothing against our #1 seed (Tong Zhang and new freshman sensation Tomotaka Yoshitomi) but they may be in for a surprise. The intangibles may trump the numbers in the end of the day. 

Jishan Liang and Zhe Feng (#2 seeds) were the winning doubles duo in the Team event that gave Texas Wesleyan the win in 2016 and are a mere 66 points behind the top pair. You can’t bet against the mix of Liang’s left handed side winding shots and Zhe Feng’s penhold prowess. Another lefty righty combo is Yichi Zhang (men’s singles champion from 2016) and Lefty Qingwei Sun. Coach Cheng Li describes Yichi Zhang as a “game changer” with his explosive backhand rips. Last pair but certainly not least are Bruno Ventura Dos Anjos and Shuai Wang (pictured above). Bruno is one of the most exciting and exciteable players to watch. Bruno and Shuai have been partners for a number of years and can expect to make things very interesting.  

Coach Rather states, “We will have to wait for April 7th to see which men's and women's doubles will take championships home. .”

The College Table Tennis game has grown in leaps and bounds and anything can happen in sports and so please tune in on April 7th to see this great event take place!

2017 Nationals to feature new Mixed Mixed Doubles event!

Start networking as soon as you arrive at our 2017 Nationals in Eau Claire this year because we're featuring our latest event: The Mixed Mixed Doubles! 
 

Rules:

  • Pairs must consist of 1 Male and 1 Female player
  • Both players must represent different schools
  • Both players must have qualified through Nationals either through the teams or the respective singles events
  • Direct invitees will have priority pairing when multiple requests are made for a single player 
    • Still conflicting requests will be determined through a proprietary algorithm by Kagin Lee

Format:

  • Seeded Round Robin groups of 4
  • 1 pair advances to Single Elimination

Registration

  Deadline: 4/6/2017
  URL: http://nctta.org/champs/2017/registration/mixedmixeddoubles/
 

April Fool's everyone!

College Table Tennis: The Pong Potpourri

(pictured here are representatives from New Zealand in College Table Tennis)

Table Tennis as a sport has always been a mélange of different people and the TMS 2017 College Table Tennis Championships stands out with a big D on differences and diversity.

This year’s host is Visit Eau Claire, and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus where the championships took place in 2015 will get a firsthand look at the assortment of participants from this wonderful event.  The University has its share of international students, but the College Table Tennis Championships will be adding their own to the mix very shortly.

A total of 264 student athletes and coaches will come to Eau Claire, Wisconsin between April 7th and 9th and battle for top honors in 6 different events. Among them are represented 33 countries from a record 56 colleges and universities in the USA and Canada; it’s truly an international event.

The country with the most athletes are: China, USA, India and Canada. We in addition have representatives from countries as far as: Sri Lanka! Sri Lanka is located in Southeast Asia and also features 3 athletes in the competition: Denethi Wijegunawardana (The Ohio State University), Dilshan Sooriyaarachchi (Texas Tech University) and Sachiko Jayaratne (Texas Wesleyan University)

Denethi excited at the prospect of meeting her countrymen/women, “I have never met any Sri Lankan players at tournaments.” Denethi is very active in the USA Table Tennis community playing in several tournaments. Denethi adds, “I have never met any Sri Lankan players. I am sure that it will be a wonderful meeting and thanks for NCTTA giving this chance for me.”

Dilshan, student from Texas Tech and fellow Sri Lankan, says,It's definitely nice to see another player from the same country as you are. It gives you a chance to catch up with each other talk about Table Tennis. Differences in coaching, playing styles and organizational set up.....etc; And it's always good to see a familiar face.”

College Table Tennis Championships is about the highest level of competition but it can’t be understated that it is also a veritable table tennis reunion for so many! There might even be an all Sri Lanka group picture at some point!

Since we are talking about island nations with College table tennis athletes, why not talk about New Zealand where 3 athletes hail from.  Michael Zhang, and Roger Rao from Duke and Matt Hetherington from Pillar College.

Hetherington who just started at Pillar College this year, says, “It feels good to feel a part of home here with me in the USA and brings back a lot of fond memories for me.”

It should be stated that the College Table Tennis Championships are almost like a big table tennis reunion of sorts. The Table Tennis community is small enough so having a large event like this helps out in this area.

Hetherington goes on to say, “I'm very excited for nationals, I've already met many new faces through the divisional and regional tournaments and I'm hoping to meet many more next month and also experience the vibe of the big showdown that has been building. Being part of the media drive for that working with USATT has made me even more excited for what is to come.”

We at NCTTA can’t wait either to see everyone in action from the Kiwi’s (New Zealand) to Sri Lanka and everywhere else representing their college, club and country!

The 2017 TMS College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and the Eau Claire 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

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 7th and continues through Sunday April 9th. 

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

Kota Tamura Puts Clarkson University on the College Table Tennis Map

Clarkson University is a small private research university in Potsdam, New York and before this year their table tennis team wasn’t very well known outside of the Upstate New York division. Enter: Japanese international, Kota Tamura. Tamura was the second best player from his region when he trained in Japan. He is a short pips chopper that can vary the spin and speed with his game.

Tamura at first wasn’t going to play College TT but says, “I didn’t know Clarkson has a TT club and I was not going to play here anyways but I found out they wanted to go to regionals, so I decided to play to help the team.”

Clarkson didn’t qualify as a team ultimately but finished their highest in recent seasons (finished in 3rd in their division).  Tamura helped incredibly by going 21-2 this season and qualified for the TMS 2017 College Table Tennis Championships in Men’s singles.

Tamura is a leader in the club as well. Clarkson’s coach, Joe Revai says this about Kota, “He has had world class coaching in his teenage years back in Japan and graciously works with any of them students sharing knowledge with perfect form.”

Tamura is looking forward to the NCTTA Champs, “my policy is I do what I love to do, I want to enjoy the games with great players coming from all over America and even other countries. I am also looking to make great friends through the tournament.”

There aren’t too many student athletes with Tamura’s style, so it will be a pleasure to see how he adapts to all of the student athletes from around the globe. The TMS 2017 College Table Tennis Championships is lucky to have such a friendly spirit and leader from Clarkson University at the event.

(Pictured here is the Clarkson University Table Tennis Team)

The 2017 TMS College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and the Eau Claire 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

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 7th and continues through Sunday April 9th. 

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 Teams Bring Star Power to National Championships in Wisconsin

By Andy Kanengiser

NCTTA Media Chair

Marvelous loops, awesome spins and tenacious defense are all part of the package for several college women's table tennis teams this season.

Their amazing skills will be showcased at the 2017 TMS collegiate table tennis championships in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Schools like Texas Wesleyan University, Princeton, UCLA, California-Berkeley, Ohlone College and Texas are all bringing elite teams to the games April 7-9.

The NCTTA's biggest tournament of the year is attracting several dynamic women who packed their paddles for Team USA at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Practicing on the West Coast in recent weeks, Cal's women's team travels to Wisconsin stronger than ever. Players include Lily Zhang who took a year's break to train for Team USA. A 20-year-old psychology major from Palo Alto, California, Lily hopes to represent the USA on the world table tennis circuit.

Cal women include Prachi Jha, a freshman from Milpitas, California. The 19-year-old took a year out of high school to compete professionally overseas. Rounding out the stellar team: Erica Minh-Chan Tran and Ellen Hwang, who each played the sport at a high level for a decade.

The smart Cal women pound the books when they're not slamming table tennis balls. Tran, 21, is a molecular cell biology major from Saratoga, California. Ellen, 22, is an economics major from Thousand Oaks, California.

"All of us are good friends and bonded together through our team,'' says Erica. "We practice together and also help coach beginners in our club. We hope that our teamwork and camaraderie will help us reach the finals for the women's teams competition this year.''

Other bright spots along the West Coast include the UCLA women's table tennis team (pictured here). The squad consists of: Haloin Fang of San Francisco, Jinging Nie of Wuhan, China, Gretchen Tan of Malaysia and Isabel Chu of Milpitas, California. The Lady Bruins always bring their "A game'' to tournaments. The UCLA students are pumped about coming to Nationals.

"We can't wait to see our friends from other universities,'' says Chu, 19, who seeks to become a physical therapist.

Ohlone College is another potent California team making the road trip to the Dairy State tournament. It will be the first time for the Ohlone women's team. "We have been practicing a lot to prepare for the Nationals,'' says standout player Ying Wang. She's the team captain, founder and president of the school's table tennis club.

Ohlone is a two-year community college that saw its coed team impress fans at the 2016 nationals in Round Rock, Texas. In its initial season, Ohlone players turned in amazing performances against veteran teams in 2016.

A 23-year-old from China's Jilin Province, Ying Wang wants to pursue the sports business as her career choice. She's considering a transfer to schools like UC Berkeley next season. The business economics major will be an asset wherever she goes.

The always-powerful Texas Wesleyan University women's table tennis team remains a paradise of star coaches and players. The list of notables on the Fort Worth campus includes Jasna Rather, who oversees the table tennis program. She's joined by an experienced staff of coaches, including Anastasiia Rybka,  Doru Gheorghe ( head coach for the women's team), and Keith Evans.

Whether it is the superb Lady Rams table tennis squad, including two Team USA members or wonderful players at other campuses, Rather and Gheorghe say fans will see incredible performances by women in Wisconsin. Jennifer Wu is one of the Texas Wesleyan stars who shined as a Team USA member during the Olympics in Rio in 2016.

Some of the women coming to Wisconsin will focus only on NCTTA singles competition. They include Texas A&M graduate student Susana Leon Caceres. For the native of Columbia, it marks her second trip to the Nationals. Susana loves doing research and her studies at Mary Kay O'Conner Process Safety Engineering Center at Texas A&M. But the Texas A&M Aggie is passionate about table tennis, too. "The experience during the NCTTA's 2016 Nationals was excellent.''

Excellent is one word that nicely sums up the athletic skills of the women playing table tennis at the 2017 college championships.

The 2017 TMS College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and the Eau Claire 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

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 7th and continues through Sunday April 9th. 

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

Volunteers Serve to Drive Success of College Table Tennis Championships

By Andy Kanengiser

NCTTA Media Chairman

Scores of volunteers remain valuable assets at collegiate table tennis championships each year.

They handle a variety of important tasks – from scorekeeping to setting up tables. Men and women with a common passion for table tennis work the registration tables and handle video cameras for live streaming. They serve as referees, help with the media, assist with transportation, and take on other tasks behind the scenes.

Nearly 80 NCTTA volunteers from across the USA and Canada pitched in at the 2015 games in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. And about the same number of people will assist at the 2017 TMS collegiate table tennis championships. Many of the same crews will show up at the same venue, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus, and quickly go to work.

“Countless volunteer hours go into planning, organizing, and running the national championships,’’ says NCTTA President Willy Leparulo. “We are always indebted to our volunteers and thank them for generously contributing their time. Without them, there would be no event.’’

Willy’s wife, Shelly Huang Leparulo, ranks among the best in the business as a table tennis volunteer. As waves of student-athletes line up at the registration table, Shelly greets each one with a smile. Many of the 300 college players are weary and hungry after a long day of travel. But Shelly makes them feel welcome upon arrival and works with other volunteers to hand out information packets.

As an NCTTA volunteer, Shelly stays busy at the registration desk and keeps going around the venue until the tournament shuts down. “Her efficiency is off the charts,’’ Willy says.

Thanks to her leadership, Willy doesn’t worry about the registration desk or anything else Shelly takes on.

Volunteers rack up long hours at the NCTTA’s biggest tournament. There are some rewards – from the nice NCTTA polo shirts to seats at Saturday evening’s awards banquet tables. It’s an opportunity to see the games up close and renew friendships.

People like Cyrus Aga, 26, of Montreal, Canada, will be new to the NCTTA team of volunteers in 2017.

A 2013 Western University graduate, a former collegiate table tennis player, and ex-coach, Aga is familiar with the NCTTA landscape.

He’s taking time off from his job at PSP Investments (the Public Sector Pension Investment Board) to help as needed. “I am thrilled to be volunteering at the 2017 Nationals.’’

His tasks will include scorekeeping, assisting with the setup of tables and whatever else comes his way.

At his job, Cyrus focuses on global infrastructure investing at PSP Investments, a $120 billion Canadian pension fund based in Montreal. As a volunteer, he’s worth his weight in gold. At the tournament, he hopes to visit with Kelly Li, who represents Western University in women’s singles and reconnect with coach/volunteer Eunice Chan. (Cyrus is pictured here back in his playing days!)

Volunteering at NCTTA championships is a joy for Ed Toomey. “The NCTTA Championships is one of the best run table tennis events in the country,’’ says the Boston area resident.

After a career in human resource management with a high tech company, Toomy retired seven years ago at age 62. But the New Englander continued to volunteer with U.S. Sailing, the USATT and NCTTA. “Racing sailboats on Boston Harbor and the Mystic Lake near Boston has been a pastime for most of my life.’’

Twenty years ago, Ed got hooked on table tennis by playing during lunch-time at work. He joined the Boston Table Tennis Center, took lessons, and stepped up his game. Over the past seven years, Ed assumed various NCTTA assignments, including running divisional tournaments. Toomey is a National Umpire in table tennis and hopes to get certified as an international umpire next year. His Boston accent is thick, and his passion for the sport remains heavy, too.

Scorekeeper, umpire or the man needed to set up tables, Ralph “Radar’’ Presley of Georgia is a 15-year NCTTA volunteer. He’s served as a former Georgia Division director and coach.  Radar devotes much of his time to the ownership of a pro ABA basketball team, the Southwest Warriors, in metro Atlanta.

Presley began playing table tennis as a 12-year-old. Why does he keep coming back to volunteer at NCTTA championships? “Table tennis has been in my blood for over 50 years.’’

Other sports besides table tennis and hoops are on his radar. Ralph Presley remains an avid bowler.

The 2017 TMS College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and the Eau Claire 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

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 7th and continues through Sunday April 9th. 

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

The Not So Lone Rangers—College Table Tennis

By Michael Reff

NCTTA Media Relations Committee

Imagine getting psyched for the pinnacle of college table tennis:  the 2017 NCTTA champs in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. You’ve made it! You’ve qualified to represent your school, the #loudnproud team spirit and eagerly displaying school name and colors on shirts. The only catch is you are one of a handful of qualifiers known as the “lone rangers,” those that have made it into the single’s event but their teams have not qualified. How do you deal the pressure of playing for your school all on your own?

Being a lone ranger may appear to be a solitary test in mental and physical fortitude, not being able to rely directly on coaching or cheering from teammates. However, one common theme amongst these courageous warriors is that they are never really leaving the team behind. They will carry their spirit with them while battling it out spin for spin, loop for loop. One such lone ranger, Josh Schuback of Tufts University, expressed these sentiments about the upcoming NCTTA champs, “I expect to play a lot of good players, meet new people and just enjoy the experience. And of course proudly represent Tufts University.” Although he is representing Tufts solo this year, Josh had this to say about his team experience leading up to the national’s, “My team unfortunately did not qualify for regionals this year, but we’re bringing all of our talent back next year. We have some experienced internationals players and a few young players who are still learning the game, so we hope to do well in the future.” One can truly feel the loudnproud team spirit emanating from the Tufts freshman, and we wish all the best for his lone ranger experience in Eau Claire, as well as future team experiences in following years!

Another lone ranger, Nathan Hsu of the University of Maryland, has been in the sport since he was 9 years old. When asked how his team did this year, Nathan said, “Personally, I value a team victory over my own personal achievement, and I was hoping to experience the feeling of competing as a team. Maybe next year…” And if this exemplary selfless team spirit wasn’t enough, he had this to say about what he hopes to observe and experience at Eau Claire in April, “I really enjoy the feeling of playing on a team, and I look forward to seeing what sort of team spirit other schools bring to this competition even in the singles division.” With this team-oriented attitude even as a lone ranger, Nathan is channeling his whole school as he prepares for intense table tennis competition.

Finally, lone ranger Ramy Noseir, an Egyptian international student from Florida State University had this to say about looking forward to participating in the champs come April, “I think either I win or lose, it will be a great experience! And it will be great meeting all of North America’s top college table tennis players!

So, as you can see the lone rangers of the 2017 NCTTA champs are truly not alone at heart. They have enough team spirit to fill up the entire stadium!

The 2017 TMS College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and the Eau Claire 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

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 7th and continues through Sunday April 9th. 

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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