(Pictured above Wenting Zha, picture by Grant Bergmann)
By Andy Kanengiser
Standout table tennis players from Texas Wesleyan University dominate the action at the national collegiate championships from one year to the next.
One sharp Texas Wesleyan student-athlete with her eye set on capturing the women’s singles title is Wenting Zha.
Texas Wesleyan coach Jasna Rather is a big believer in the strengths that Wenting brings to the table when she plays her favorite sport.
No doubt, Wenting ranks as “one of the best female athletes this year,’’ Rather says of the talented Rams player. “Despite her level of play and achievements, she is very humble. She has a very fast and precise game that is not easy for an opponent to stop her.’’
Wenting Zha impresses table tennis fans as a smart player who takes a serious approach to developing her game. She’s got plenty of smarts in college classrooms, too. Wenting will soon finish work on her MBA. That business degree will open up career doors for her, Coach Rather said.
Last April, Texas Wesleyan’s Yue Wu became the 8th Lady Ram to win the women’s singles title at the 2018 iSet College Table Tennis National Championships. The games were played in Round Rock, Texas near Austin. Jennifer Yue Wu became the first Texas Wesleyan University women’s player to win that title since Sara Hazinski in 2011.
Now, observers predict Wenting Zha stands a very good chance of capturing the women’s singles title at the 2019 championships. The NCTTA’s biggest tournament of the year runs from April 12-14 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Wenting showcased her excellent skills at the NCTTA South Regionals at the Sid Richardson Center at Texas Wesleyan University March 9-10. A year ago at the national championships in the Lone Star State, Wenting performed well. But Zha fell to top-seeded Lily Zhang of California-Berkeley (and Team USA fame) in women’s singles.
In the doubles final in 2018, it was an all-Texas Wesleyan shootout. Yue Wu and Wenting Zha combined to defeat Lady Rams teammates Ana Aleksandric and Edina Haracic to take home the trophy to Fort Worth.
Wenting also brings plenty of coaching experience. Wenting is among the U.S. Junior and Cadet National Team coaches. “She has a good number of years under her belt in club coaching,’’ Rather said.
Outstanding female players at other schools across the USA and Canada will put up a stiff fight for the women’s singles crown at the North Carolina tournament.
The University of California-Berkeley team has some top-notch women players. They include Angela Guan, who lost to Yue Wu in women’s singles at the 2018 nationals.
Guan, 20, a resident of San Jose, California, is a bright Cal-Berkeley data science major. The vice president of the Cal Table Tennis Club, she’s familiar with the 2019 championships venue in Greensboro. Known as a chopper, Angela competed at the 2016 USA Olympic Trials at the very same site. Returning to Greensboro, N.C. in April, Guan said, “brings back memories of my whole Olympic dream and journey, especially the Finals on the very last day which was on NBC Sports Live.’’
Guan looks forward to paddling with the California Bears team and reuniting with the NCTTA family on a national stage again.
In her 9th year of playing table tennis, Angela brings other sports skills. She did gymnastics for six years before table tennis.
Other prominent female players from the West Coast who will bring their strong table tennis skills to North Carolina will be Qiao Jiao of Ohlone College in California. Ying Wang of the University of California-Berkeley will be back to Nationals again. Ying Wang was an awesome player at Ohlone before joining Cal’s table tennis squad.
The 2019 iSET College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and Sports & Properties Inc. and Greensboro 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, SPI, Greensboro CVB, 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 12th and continues through Sunday April 14th. Tickets on sale at ticket master
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