Iowa Team Salutes Founders

By Andy Kanengiser

NCTTA Media Chair
Iowa table tennis players owe a debt of gratitude to longtime NCTTA volunteers Jarol and Leah Duerksen. (seen above)
After all, the Iowa City couple opened their home to table tennis games for years. They did their best to push for the creation of an Iowa Hawkeyes team. It took plenty of twists and turns, but their persistence paid off.
The Iowa Hawkeyes team is alive and well and playing at their 2nd NCTTA National championships. At the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the Duerksens are overseeing the tournament practice tables. It's a labor of love for the longtime volunteers.
As the games opened on the school's McPhee Center, Iowa players commended the senior citizens for turning their table tennis dream into reality.
"The Duerksens always volunteer and push the NCTTA,'' said team coach Meng-Yu Wang, 27, of Kansas City, Missouri. "They really support our team.''
Their commitment is huge and Iowa table tennis is on the upswing. Iowa hosted the NCTTA Regionals in the Spring. That was a big deal for a team now in its 2nd year.
There are nine Iowa players at the national championships in the Chippewa Valley of north Wisconsin. Almost the entire team will return next season.
Hawkeyes table tennis is here to stay. After a couple of years of practices in a small area on the fifth floor of a recreation building, the team finally got space in a large gym on the Iowa City campus. Dues for players have gone up from $10 for the whole year to $25 per semester. Revenue is key to the squad's growth. The team recently purchased a dozen NCTTA tables.Players frequently go to practices before hitting the books.
Dylan Garland, 19, of Ankeny, Iowa, loves the steady advances of his team in a state located in the Corn Belt.After his singles battle with a strong Michigan player, Dylan clearly takes table tennis seriously. But Garland also knows there is life after table tennis. He's studying actuarial science at Iowa and hopes to be prepared for the insurance business.
Born in Taiwan, Coach Wang, 27, takes the game seriously, too. He drives nearly five hours from Kansas City to help the Iowa team. The Iowa State graduate believes the future of table tennis shines bright at Iowa.

The 2017 TMS College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and the Eau Claire CVB and is one of the premier table tennis tournaments in North America featuring 6 events: Men’s and Women’s Singles and Doubles, and Men’s/Coed Teams, Women’s Teams.  The event is sponsored by TMS International, Gerflor, Double Fish

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 7th and continues through Sunday April 9th. 


The National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA) is a non-profit organization established exclusively for promoting the sport of table tennis at the college level. As the national governing body for college table tennis in the United States and Canada, NCTTA organizes intercollegiate competition throughout North America.

About USA Table Tennis

Headquartered in Colorado Springs, USATT is the national organizing body for table tennis in the United States, serving 9,000+ members and nearly 300 clubs. USATT sanctions 200+ events a year including the US Open and US Nationals. USATT is affiliated with the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), as well as the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).