MC Hosts 2009 Dixie Division Table Tennis on February 21
January 30, 2009Mississippi College's nationally ranked table tennis team hosts the 2009 Dixie Division tournament Feb. 21 at the Baptist Healthplex. Another MC triumph will pave the way for the Choctaws to return to the national championships in Minnesota.
The annual National Collegiate Table Tennis Association tournament will be held in Rochester, Minnesota April 3-5.
Ranked 14th best in America's collegiate ranks at the 2008 nationals, MC Choctaws will face five teams from Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Tennessee at the February tournament on the Clinton campus. Beginning 9 a.m. that Saturday, the event is open to the public. Admission is free. The ping pong action concludes around 5 p.m.
MC hosted the fall Dixie Division Tournament at the Baptist Healthplex in late October and finished with a victory at the University of Southern Mississippi in early November. Other schools competing at MC included Mississippi State University, the University of Alabama, Rhodes College of Memphis and the University of New Orleans.
Led by Captain Ken Qiu, a native of China, MC's team is stronger following the recent addition of Maria Montano of Venezuela. Until just a few weeks ago, Montano was rated the No. 1 player at Southern Mississippi. The MC biochemistry student transferred from the Hattiesburg school in early January.
Other leading players on the MC team include Jessica Zhou, Jenny Wu, Ryan Hou, and Ou Lan, all natives of China. Qiu, a 26-year-old graduate student in business administration, is president of the MC club and Lan is vice president. Montano is the second vice president and freshman Ben VanHorn of Clinton is serving as the club's secretary/treasurer.
The Feb. 21 competition at MC is one of 17 regional tournaments sponsored by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association. A total of 127 college teams compete in NCTTA sponsored tournaments. More than 30 collegiate teams typically participate in the annual national championship. Texas Wesleyan remains the nation's No. 1 team with Princeton University of New Jersey at the No. 2 spot.
Mississippi College's table tennis team practices on Fridays from 3-7 p.m. at the Alumni Gym. Team sponsor Andy Kanengiser, the university news coordinator and a veteran ping pong player, invites the MC community to cheer on the Choctaws during practices as they seek to move up in the national rankings.
Photo: Newest MC table tennis team member Maria Montano, of Venezuela