By Andy Kanengiser
NCTAA Media Chair
Perennial national champ Texas Wesleyan University will soon gear up to host the NCTTA’s South Regional table tennis tournament.
The February 24-25 event on the TWU Rams home turf is booked at the Sid Richardson Center on the Fort Worth campus. Teams coming to the Lone Star State event include: Mississippi College, the University of Florida, the University of Texas, UT-Dallas, UT-Arlington, University of South Florida, Georgia Tech, Florida State University and rookies to the scene Florida Atlantic University.
Texas Wesleyan dominated the action at the Texas divisional tournament on February 10. There were automatic bids going to the South Regionals for the Texas Wesleyan coed team, and women’s squad.
The mighty Rams coed team went a perfect 7-0, while the talented Lady Rams team recorded a solid 3-0 mark.
The Texas Wesleyan Rams had the top four finishers in both women’s singles and men’s singles. For the Lady Rams, Wenting Zha finished No. 1, followed by Yue Wu, Edina Haracic of Bosnia Herzogovina, and freshman Vivaleta Manastyrskaya of Belarus. Jinxin Wang took the men’s singles title, followed by Jishan Liang of China, Bruno Ventura Dos Anjos of Brazil and Jason Plog of Germany.
With a diverse lineup featuring incredible skills, the TWU table tennis roster of 39 players consists of standouts from around the globe. Texas Wesleyan has won 13 national coed team titles over the years. Jasna Rather serves as the university’s table tennis program director. Doru Gheorghe serves as the women’s coach.
The University of Texas Longhorns team from Austin finished second at the divisional tournament in Fort Worth to punch its ticket to the South Regionals.
Mississippi College won the Dixie Division tournament in the Fall with wins over Mississippi State and the University of Alabama. MC proved too much to handle for the visiting MSU Bulldogs on the Clinton campus Feb. 10. The Alabama squad was unable to make the trip to MC on Saturday.
Sparking the MC Choctaws triumph Saturday were such players as assistant coach Tomotaka “Tomo’’ Yoshitomi of Japan, and Xiang “Ali’’ He of China. Both qualified for singles. Players including Weiheng Liu, Tong Zhang, QingWei Sun, Caleb Shipman and Jeremy Gore round out the squad.
MC was selected to the South Regionals as one of the wild card teams along with schools like Florida State and UT-Dallas.
A Dixie Division powerhouse for a decade, Mississippi College upset Texas Wesleyan to narrowly win the 2015 NCTTA national championship in Eau Clare, Wisconsin. MC’s coed team finished in second place at the national championships in 2016 and 4th place last season.
The NCTTA South Regionals and other regional tournaments will be the next big thing for college players in the USA and Canada. The season closes with the iSET 2018 College Table Tennis Championships in Round Rock, Texas April 20-22 with the event near Austin to attract more than 250 college table tennis stars.
Check out the live streams here:
2018 NCTTA South Regional Championship - Teams (Day 1)
Saturday, February 24 - 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM Central time
2018 NCTTA South Regional Championship - Singles (Day 2)
Sunday, February 25 - 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM Central time
(Pictured above are the UT Arlington doubles squad)