Mississippi College Table Tennis Team Hits the Road
February 10, 2017
Mississippi College’s stellar table tennis team travels to metro Atlanta for one of its biggest tournaments of the season.
Schools like Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia, Auburn, Mercer and Mississippi State are among the nine teams signed up for Saturday’s Georgia Division Tournament in Norcross.
The lively action at Lucky Shoals Park begins at 9 a.m. and should wrap up by 5 p.m. Admission is free for fans at the tournament at the park’s community center at 4651 Britt Road.
“We invite all Mississippi College alumni and friends in the Atlanta area to cheer on the Choctaws,” said Andy Kanengiser, the MC table tennis sponsor. “In our tenth season, the powerful MC team remains among the very best across the USA and Canada again this year.”
Coached by MC senior Cheng Li, the Choctaws finished first in the fall division classic followed by runner-up Georgia Tech, and third-place Georgia. Li played four years on the team and served as captain.
The October 2016 tournament in the Peach State wrapped up with a thrilling match in singles play. MC table tennis standout Yichi Zhang edged USA Olympic team star Yijun “Tom” Feng, a University of Georgia freshman. Zhang won a thriller, three games to two. Feng competed for Team USA at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
A native of China and computer science major, Yichi Zhang is the 2016 National Collegiate Table Tennis Association men’s singles champion.
Other students on the MC team include Tong Zhang and Qing Wei Sun, both natives of China, Jeremy Gore of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, plus newcomer Tomotaka Yoshitomi of Japan.
Mississippi College finished last season ranked No. 2 among 150 colleges across the USA and Canada playing the Olympic sport. MC ranked No. 1 in North America in 2015.
The Georgia event on February 11 is among three major tournaments on the MC schedule before the season ends.
The National Collegiate Table Tennis Association regionals will be February 25-26 at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth. Texas Wesleyan won the national co-ed team championships a dozen times.
The 2017 national championship games are set for the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire April 7-9.
With a trio of tournaments happening in upcoming weeks, MC players stepped up their practices at Alumni Gym. “It’s amazing how much time they spend polishing their serves, spins and overall game. But the student-athletes all manage to do well in the classroom, too,” Kanengiser said. “We will give it our best shot at winning another national championship.”
At the nationals, MC faces much bigger schools, from Ohio State to Southern California and Princeton. Schools like McGill in Montreal, New York University, Lindenwood, Penn State, Texas and Michigan are usually squaring off against the Choctaws. MC battled the Texas Wesleyan Rams in the finals for the past five years in a row. Key matches at the national championships in April will air on computers across the globe on live streaming at nctta.org
Contact Andy Kanengiser, University News Coordinator, at 601.925.7760 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.