Mississippi College Table Tennis Team Wins Tournament at 2013 Homecoming
October 28, 2013
Mississippi College newcomers joined forces with two standouts from China to power MC’s nationally ranked table tennis team to victory at the Dixie Division tournament.
MC’s squad received help from Frederick Cheung, a medical sciences graduate student from California and Alabama’s John Mills, a freshman on the university’s tennis team, to coast to victory at Alumni Gym.
Last April, Mississippi College finished the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association championships in Rockford, Illinois ranked No. 2 in North America.
At MC’s 2013 Homecoming, Tulane edged the University of Alabama at Birmingham to take second place at Saturday’s tournament with UAB getting third. Other teams competing included the University of Alabama, the University of West Florida, Alabama at Huntsville and Mississippi State.
Both natives of China, Chen Li and Joe Xie again brought their “A’’ games to the table to go undefeated over the weekend.
Hitting the books all semester with plans to go to dental school, Cheung proved he could also slam table tennis balls with amazing speed on the Clinton campus.
A 5’9’’ 150-pounder from Tuscaloosa, Mills proved he’s got skills in two sports at Mississippi College.
Mills “just showed up in my advanced tennis class,’’ says David Boteler, who’s in his 17th season coaching Mississippi College tennis teams. “He can play.’’
During the day, plenty of table tennis fans, including alumnus Sam Anderson of California, President Lee Royce and his wife, Rhoda, and a contingent of students were on hand to cheer for the Choctaws.
Cheung isn’t new to the game. Fred played the Olympic sport for the University of California at Irvine table tennis team. Jeff Huang, an MC senior who played with Li, and Xie in the 2012 National Collegiate Table Tennis championships in Rockford, Illinois, rounded out the five-man Mississippi College squad.
“I was pleased to have the two newcomers join in and help our team in this division tournament,’’ said MC table tennis coach Ken Qiu. “I hope with our current roster, we can do better next semester, and hopefully in the nationals. I am proud of our players.’’
Mississippi College is in its seventh season of table tennis. Playing the tournament at Alumni Gym, headquarters for team practices, was something new. In previous Dixie Division contests over the first six years, the Baptist Healthplex served as the tournament site.
“Our student-athletes played their hearts out and the results showed it,’’ said Andy Kanengiser, the table tennis team sponsor and university news coordinator. “Everybody did a terrific job, but we really appreciate the strong performances from Cheung and Mills making in their Mississippi College debuts.’’
Mississippi College plans to book its spring Dixie Division tournament against the same teams in the region on February 7.
Last year, MC’s squad was rated No. 2 in North America for the second year in a row. That was a better ranking than such talented table tennis teams as the University of Southern California, Princeton, Columbia, UCLA, Texas, Michigan State, Ottawa and NYU. Texas Wesleyan University’s coed team has won the NCTTA championship for ten consecutive years.
Photo: Mississippi College table tennis coach Ken Qiu, joins MC alumnus Sam Anderson of California, new table tennis player Frederick Cheung, President Lee Royce and his wife, Rhoda Royce, at Saturday's Dixie Division tournament. Cheung is a graduate student in MC's medical sciences program with plans to become a dentist.