Table Tennis Team Travels to Minnesota for Nationals
March 31, 2009Schools like Princeton, Duke, Rutgers and Texas will be among the competitors as the Mississippi College table tennis team travels to Minnesota Thursday for the national championships.
MC is among 39 schools represented at the 2009 National Collegiate Table Tennis Association tournament in Rochester, MN, home of the famed Mayo Clinic. Tournament action runs from Friday, April 3 through Sunday, April 5 at the Regional Recreation Sports Center.
The roster going to Minnesota includes Captain Ken Qiu, Jessica Zhou, Jenny Wu and Ou Lan, all of China, Nancy Tsai of Taiwan and Maria Montano of Venezuela. Formerly the top player at USM and a biochemistry student, Montano, transferred to MC in January.
Bringing back their killer spins, the top three finishers from 2008, Texas Wesleyan, Princeton and Puerto Rico return as the top three seeds at the Nationals. A year ago, MC finished in 14th place to rank just below the No. 13 squad, the University of Southern California. Wichita State, Michigan State and the University of Texas are among the new teams playing at this year's tournament.
MC punched its ticket to Minnesota after winning the Dixie Division tournament in February at the Baptist Healthplex on the Clinton campus. MC defeated Southern Mississippi, Mississippi State University, the University of Alabama, and Alabama-Huntsville.
"It's quite an honor for Mississippi College to make a second trip to the Nationals for a program that's only been around a couple of years," said team sponsor Andy Kanengiser, the MC university news coordinator. "Our ping-pong team is now on the national map, and schools across America will be gunning for us," he said. "But we hope to exceed our 2008 performance. We've been working hard in practices at Alumni Gym to get ready."
Teams like Michigan State, are working hard, too.
Michigan State team Captain David Switzer said his team from East Lansing is thrilled to be in the Nationals. "We are out to show the country that Michigan State is a new force to be reckoned with."
It will be a busy few days in the northern Midwest city for Tsai. While in Minnesota, Tsai will borrow a piano and practice for an upcoming piano recital on the Clinton campus.
Seeking a master's degree in piano performance, Nancy will perform her piano recital, including a selection by Frederic Chopin, on the Clinton campus Tuesday April 7. Coming one day after the Nationals, the event at 7:30 p.m. at the Jean Pittman Williams Recital Hall. The recital is free and open to the public. Tsai is a student of MC music professor Angela Willoughby.
Once the tournament ends, MC's team will keep practicing every Friday. MC is making plans to host the NCTTA's Dixie Division tournament in the fall and hopes to recruit more top players to the team in 2009-2010.
MC International Programs Director Jim Brackenridge spotlighted the nationally ranked table tennis team Friday at the International Festival. The 75-minute event also brought music, dance and a fashion show to Swor Auditorium.
For more information on the team, contact Kanengiser at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Qiu at email@example.com, 601.925.7705.