College Table Tennis Season Commences as School Teams Prep for Divisionals
By Michael Reff
The USATT helps to bolster and promote membership to various table tennis organizations, ranging from youth to Para events, and everything in between. One such organization on display, the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA), is just commencing its 2019-2020 school year. With a new year comes the first tournaments where college athletes from around USA and Canada clash locally in Divisional competitions to test their opponents out for the ensuing Divisonals, Regionals, and National events which are held in the Winter and Spring 2020.
According to NCTTA President Willy Leparulo, “The first Divisional of any college table tennis season sets the tone for how each college team is going to have to prepare for the post season [Winter and Spring 2020]. Everyone’s shooting for the postseason… start strong, end strong.”
These Fall Divisional tournaments have occurred on varying dates, therefore table tennis scholars must plan accordingly to balance prepping for school as well as for the competition. Some Divisionals start as early as 10/6 (Texas division, which boasts returning National Champs Texas Wesleyan University against other fine Texas talent) and as late as 11/23 in the NorCal division.
One team in NorCal, UC Davis, is actively preparing for their later Divisional. They made a strong showing in last year’s Nationals, tying for 5th place with Buffalo. Their coach Danny Yip is a UC Davis alum that started playing table tennis when he was ten years old. Upon graduating, he started a fulltime position as a semiconductor engineer and jumped at the chance to give back to the school that had further developed his playing and coaching skills. He has been UC Davis’ coach for close to seven years.
Although, according to coach Yip,”2 players, Bryant Lin (2018-2019 team captain) and Yuk Shing Lam (rookie player from Hong Kong), had just graduated last spring quarter”, UC Davis retained Kunal Chodri, a 2500+ rated junior student athlete who, as Coach Yip says, “will continue to provide anchor for our team.” In addition to Chodri, Coach Yip has some other stellar recruit such as Peruvian international Teresa Chan.
One benefit that USATT is offering to NCTTA are ten free USATT yearlong memberships per NCTTA registered college team. Coach Yip believes this deal,
“is one of the most amazing perks that I wish I had back when I was an undergrad. We will surely use this perk to help prepare our players to develop competition instincts, expose our players to variety of gameplay styles, and raise the level of competition in the area.”
As student athletes get back in the loop with their respective Divisional tournaments and studies, we wish everyone success in equal parts table tennis as well as academics!