Mississippi College Table Tennis Team Makes Seventh Trip to National Championships
Ranked No. 2 in North America, Mississippi College’s table tennis team will make another bid to win the national championships in early April.
MC will be among the elite teams competing at the 2014 TMS College Table Tennis Championships on April 4-6 in Monroeville, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh. Mississippi College finished No. 2 among the 150 college table tennis teams in the USA and Canada in 2012, and 2013, but returns with a better squad in 2014.
“MC has the strongest team in its history with new players joining in,” said table tennis coach Ken Qiu, the squad’s former captain.
Texas Wesleyan University’s coed team, winner of ten straight National Collegiate Table Tennis Association titles, stands in the way. Led by coach Jasna Rather and the nation’s No. 1 singles player, Emil Santos, the TWU Rams are very strong once again.
“The NCTTA national competition is pretty sharp with a lot of great teams attending,” Qiu said. “Our team will try its best to get some national titles. We hope for great success in the nationals this year.”
Last season, Texas Wesleyan captured four of the six national championships. Besides the TWU Rams, and the Mississippi College Choctaws, other top teams competing at the tournament include New York University, San Jose State, the University of Southern California, Princeton, the University of California-Berkeley, Lindenwood of Missouri, Toronto, Michigan and North Carolina State.
MC’s journey to table tennis stardom originates thousands of miles away in China.
Huan “Ken” Qiu, a native of China and office of global education staff member, was the university’s first standout player when the squad began on the Clinton campus in 2007.
Today, five of the six MC players are from China. They are Captain Cheng Li, Zhiqiao “Joe” Xie, and newcomers Yichi Zhang, Zescheng “Leo” Huang and Junyu “Henson” Xiao. The lone American is Tyler Brogdan of Birmingham, Alabama. Huang is a 19-year-old native of the Guangdong Province who came to MC to improve his English, study business and step up his table tennis game.
Zhicheng “Johnson” Liang was among the star players on last year’s team. He presently serves as the assistant table tennis coach.
Thanks to the determination of MC table tennis players over the first seven seasons, the Baptist-affiliated university is home to a growing trophy case. “The team has worked hard again this year at Alumni Gym and at tournaments around the nation,” said Mississippi College table tennis sponsor Andy Kanengiser. “We anticipate their hard work will pay dividends at the championships in Pennsylvania.”
Table tennis fans can follow the action at the national tournament by watching live streaming of the three-day event in the Pittsburgh suburb at http://nctta.org/champs/2014/video.html. For more information on the tournament, go to nctta.org.