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MC Table Tennis Team Advances to 2012 NCTTA Championship


Mississippi College’s second place finish at the South regionals in Atlanta earned the Choctaws a trip to the national championship in Texas next month.

MC impressively defeated teams like Florida State and the University of Texas, but fell to perennial powerhouse Texas Wesleyan during Saturday’s tournament in Georgia.

In mid-April, Mississippi College’s squad will head to the national championship in Plano, Texas for the fifth year in a row.

MC players like Yuliang “Bill” Cai, Yang  “Micah” Yu,  Zhiqiao  “Joe” Xie,  and Zhicheng “Johnson” Liang, all natives of China, combined with senior Ben VanHorn of Clinton to turn in solid performances March 3.

While falling to Texas Wesleyan 4-0, the scores were close, noted Ken Qiu, MC’s coach who first developed the squad in 2007.

Texas Wesleyan’s coed team claimed the No. 1 spot, with Mississippi College taking second and the University of Texas finishing third. The trio of teams will pack their paddles for the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association tournament. The April 13-15 event in the Lone Star State is expected to attract about 30 of the best collegiate table tennis teams in the USA and Canada.

Others rounding out the top eight at the Atlanta tournament were: Central Florida, the University of Florida, Northern Florida, Georgia Tech and Florida State.

Going into the tournament, Mississippi College’s coed team was rated third in North America behind Texas Wesleyan and second-place Lindenwood University of Missouri.

In men’s singles action in Atlanta, Texas Wesleyan’s Jose Barbosa of Brazil finished first and a number of his TWU teammates were not far behind. A number of MC players competed in the singles, including Joe Xie, who lost to Barbosa.

In women’s competition, UT-Austin, the Texas Wesleyan, and Georgia State claimed the first three sports to qualify for the nationals.

The Texas Wesleyan’s Rams coed team has a string of national championships dating back to 2002.

After driving home from Georgia in 2nd place, Qiu said he believes the MC squad polished their game and learned a great deal from the weekend’s experience.

“When I saw our players competing with TWU players, it gave us some confidence and hope that we are able to compete with them in the nationals,” he said.

To prepare for the nationals in Texas, the MC team will spend more time practicing the next few weeks at  Alumni Gym on the Clinton campus.