MC Table Tennis Team Excels in Minnesota
April 17, 2008Mississippi College's new Table Tennis Team slammed its way to victories over bigger schools like Iowa State University and California State University-East Bay.
In its first appearance in the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association championships in Rochester, Minn. MC pulled off some upsets and finished in 14th place among 23 coed collegiate teams. In the April 11-13 tournament, they beat out schools like Georgia Tech, Columbia, Stanford, James Madison, Emory, MIT and Maryland. A spring snowstorm in Minnesota didn't hurt MC's game, although one school had to cancel due to the bad weather.
Led by Captain Huan "Ken" Qiu, the four-member MC team battled each game in the tournament in Rochester, best known as the home of the Mayo Clinic.
"The team played hard," said Qui, president of the MC International Students Association. "We played better and better day by day. The MC team never gave up. We were fighting to the last minute to get each point."
Qui, who is an MBA-finance student, was joined by teammates Haijing Wu, a computer science major, and Jie Zhou and Jian Hou, both pursuing master's degrees in business administration on the Clinton campus.
"All the MC players showed a lot of heart during the national tournament and exceeded expectations," said Andy Kanengiser, the MC Table Tennis Club sponsor and university news coordinator. "They've put MC Table Tennis on the national map. We're hoping for an even better showing next year."
It wasn't just a competitive three-day tournament attacking hollow white balls. During their stay in Minnesota, members of the MC team took time to visit children at the Mayo Clinic. They later went shopping at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, the nation's biggest retail center.
While in Minnesota, Qui said the MC students informed table tennis nationwide about MC's international programs and invited them to visit the Clinton campus. At the tournament, players came from as far south as Puerto Rico and as far west as Washington state.
The top finisher in the coed division was Texas Wesleyan, with Princeton taking second, Puerto Rico third, the University of Minnesota fourth and the University of Michigan landed in fifth place. It was the fifth championship in a row for Texas Wesleyan that actively recruits table tennis players
Even against top teams like Princeton, "we gave them a good game," he said. MC finished one notch below the University of Southern California that finished in 13th place.
Qiu and MC's three other players all come from China. MC is home to 330 international students, including 250 from China. The 4,600-student Christian university maintains an office in China to recruit students.
MC's team polished their game during practices in recent weeks at the Baptist Healthplex, and the activities center at First Baptist Church in Clinton.
MC table tennis team (pictured left to right): Haijing Wu, Jie Zhou, Ken Qiu, Jian Hou