Team photo of the "Green Machine" squad (above)
by Andy Kanengiser
NCTTA Media Chairman
North Texas table tennis standouts will bring machine-like efficiency to the 2016 national championships in Round Rock.
At the 36,000-student university in Denton, the young UNT Mean Green Machine squad is making school history. It will be their first trip to the NCTTA's biggest tournament of the year.
Founded in 1890, North Texas is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2015-16. So reaching that table tennis milestone at the 2016 TMS championship games is a nice achievement worth applauding.
Alan Chu, 28, a doctoral student in educational psychology with a concentration in sports pedagogy, is the coach & architect of the Dream Team of Teens on the Denton campus.
Chris Tian and Bryan Wu, both of Plano, Texas are each 16-years-old. Jack Zhang and Brandon Chow are both 17-year-old UNT student-athletes from Coppell, Texas. Three of the sharp UNT players have ratings over 2,100.
A native of Hong Kong, Chu, played the Olympic sport for 18 years. He raves about the accomplishments of his young players. Besides being talented with paddles in hand, they are smart, too. All four players attend UNT as students at the Texas Academy of Mathematics & Science.
While all four players grew up in North Texas, they all come from families of Chinese heritage in a country in East Asia where table tennis is king.
At a school with prominent alumni like TV's Dr. Phil McGraw and the late singer Don Henley of the rock band, the Eagles, these young players are getting noticed at Texas tournaments.
North Texas plays in a very competitive table tennis state. The Lone Star State is home to perennial champ Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth and a strong University of Texas squad on the Austin campus.
But at the March 25-27 nationals in Round Rock, look for North Texas,with its mascot of Scrappy the Eagle, to soar to new heights. And given their youth, the Dream Team should be a potent squad that will only continue to get better for years to come.
The 2016 TMS 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 TMS International, Gerflor, Double Fish, and Joola.
Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday March 25th and continues through Sunday March 27th at the Round Rock Sports Center
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