slideshow

Youngest NCTTA Volunteer VIP Steals Hearts at Champs

By Michael Reff

Who’s that cutie in the stroller,

Smiling, tongue is sticking out

None other than Mia Leparulo,

I’ll tell you what she’s all about.

She came to Greensboro with her parents,

And while they are hard at work,

Her duty is to win hearts over,

And from tasks she does not shirk.

All who see her want to hold her,

She, the youngest VIP,

How she feels of important status,

Ask mom who translates her speech.

“Very honored very special,

And all [is so ] well deserved.

Since I’m … only baby in… volunteer group.”

I think the TT fam’ly concurs.

Her Mom’s registration coordinator,

Dad is wearer of several hats,

Both strive to make tournament greater,

And with inclusion of Mia they do that.

Mia’s goal is simple: make all happy,

Even for her stressed out dad

2 month Mia Leparulo’s

The best addition we’ve ever had.

The 2019 iSET College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and Sports & Properties Inc. and Greensboro 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 iSET, Double Happiness, SPI, Greensboro CVB, Double Fish and USA Table Tennis

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the iSET College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 12th and continues through Sunday April 14th.

About NCTTA

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. www.nctta.org

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). www.usatt.org

Texas Wesleyan is Back On Top

Texas Wesleyan has churned out another championship performance in 2019 after the 2018 campaign that saw NYU take the title. Texas Wesleyan won the Men's/Coed Team title by knocking out two champions. In the semi finals NYU fell victim to the Rams Table Tennis powerhouse 3-1. The Championship final saw Mississippi College and Texas Wesleyan battle it out. Mississippi College champions from 2015 and runnerup too many times to count, was hoping for a 2019 title. Texas Wesleyan avenged their 2019 South Regional Championship loss and bested Mississippi College 3-1 to win the coveted 2019 ISET College Table Tennis Championships. 

Not to be understated is the Texas Wesleyan women's team who took home the women's title for the 4th year in a row and 9 times overall. An impressive victory over UC Berkeley 3-1. One player that certainly deserves to be the MVP if there were one is Wenting Zha a woman player that plays both sides for Texas Wesleyan (on the Men's/Coed team and women's team). Zha had some impressive victories for both teams and deserves much credit! 

Texas Wesleyan is and continues to be the team we aspire to be like and the team we want to beat. NY Yankees of College Table Tennis, love them or not, you must respect their hard work, training and passion which is showcased every time they take the court. 

Kudos the Coaching staff: Jasna Rather, Doru Gheorge and the players of Texas Wesleyan for well deserved championship titles!

(pictured above is the Texas Wesleyan team, credit to Jasna Rather)

The 2019 iSET College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and Sports & Properties Inc. and Greensboro 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 iSET, Double Happiness, SPI, Greensboro CVB, Double Fish and USA Table Tennis

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the iSET College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 12th and continues through Sunday April 14th.

About NCTTA

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. www.nctta.org

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). www.usatt.org

 

Best Wishes to the Class of 2019

By Andy Kanengiser

NCTTA Media Chair

Top table tennis talent at colleges across the USA and Canada shines at the NCTTA's championship games from one year to the next.

But after four seasons, their collegiate careers come to an end. That's going to be the case for several members of the NCTTA's Class of 2019.

University of Wisconsin-Madison table tennis standout Yash Shah is one of those stellar players. The 22-year-old senior from Mumbai, India will close out the books with paddle in hand on a high note.

 The computer science major is battling for points and scoring at the 2019 NCTTA Championships in Greensboro. It was close, but Yash fought hard and edged a strong UCLA opponent 3 games to 2 as Wisconsin teammates cheered Friday afternoon. The match's last score was 11-9.

"I give it my best and fight for every point,'' Yash said of his style of play at the Nationals or throughout the NCTTA season. (pictured above)

After taking a moment for a quick photo, Yash Shah rushed back to root for his Badger teammates during matches with the UCLA Bruins.

When the noise dies down, and the tournament ends at the Greensboro Coliseum, it's a case of a job well done for the lanky 6'1" native of India.

There was snow and rain in Wisconsin Thursday when the table tennis contingent from Madison campus traveled to North Carolina. Four women and three men who love this fast-paced Olympic sport.

Prior to the tournament's marathon of games, the University of Wisconsin-Madison's coed team was seeded 12th in the USA. Others on the coed team are: Luke Zheng, Peter Yang, Yanlin Li, and Liren Guo. The Badger women's team was ranked fifth. All four members of the women's team are from China: Liren Guo, Yanlin Li, Yu Zhou and Kunlu Ma.

Yash Shah provided senior leadership for the University of Wisconsin. His freshman year, he joined three women on the coed team. Last year's national tournament was in Round Rock, Texas when New York University's coed team finished No. 1.

That NYU achievement stands out for Yash Shah because one of the players on the No. 1 team is Mudit Dani. One year, they played on the same Mumbai team. Dani, 20, a management major,is among the NYU stars showcased at the 2019 Nationals. No doubt, the table tennis friends from India will catch up.

 "I look forward to playing NYU and the other top seeds,'' Shah said Friday.

Another career highlight for Yash Shah was playing the NCTTA championships in the Dairy State. The 2017 venue was the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus.

What's next?  Expect him to keep playing at USATT clubs. Yash also seeks to work for a tech company in Los Angeles.

Another ace who will soon finish his NCTTA playing days is Mississippi College standout Qingwei Sun, 21. A native of Hebei, China, he's been a part of a strong MC squad the past four years. The MC Choctaws coed team was ranked No. 2 in the USA prior to the Greensboro championships. A year ago, MC finished 3rd.

Coach "Johnson'' Liang appreciates Sun's dedication to the sport, hard work and quiet leadership. The 6'1" tall Qingwei Sun always brings his best at every tournament. MC won the 2019 South Regionals in March in Fort Worth with a narrow victory over host Texas Wesleyan University.

Some University of Iowa players are wrapping up their college careers this weekend in North Carolina. They include: Dylan Garland, Arnold Kompaniyets and Kyle Mikota. All three Iowa Hawkeyes will compete in men's singles.

The 2019 iSET College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and Sports & Properties Inc. and Greensboro 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 iSET, Double Happiness, SPI, Greensboro CVB, Double Fish and USA Table Tennis

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the iSET College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 12th and continues through Sunday April 14th.

About NCTTA

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. www.nctta.org

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). www.usatt.org

Clash of the Styles: Women’s Championship Doubles

By Michael Reff

Women’s doubles finals closed out Friday night of the 2019 iSET college table tennis championships at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex in entertaining fashion.  It was a clash of the styles as the two teams, Cal Berkeley and Ohlone, had pips players Angela Guan and Ying Wang pitted against a pair of looping lefties, Qiao Jiao and Yiwei Liu. That’s not something you see every day! Typically, the ideal pairing of doubles is a lefty righty duo in order to limit the awkwardness of bumping into each other, but the Ohlone lefties made up for it with blazing footwork and extreme displays of strength against Angela Guan’s loaded underspin chops. It was a hard-fought battle on both sides, but the No. 1 seeded Berkeley Bears ultimately sealed the win.

Ying Wang is a former Ohlone student herself as well as being the 2016 women’s singles national college champion. She has short pips on her forehand side and is a flat hitting attacking player. Angela Guan is a 20-year-old Data Science major who, among many accolades, was a member of team USA for the 2017 World Table Tennis Championships. She has long pips on her backhand rubber, which reverses the spin and allows her to return heavy topspin loops with equally heavier backspin strokes.

The doubles final was not a walk in the park for them. Initially they were up 2-1 in games, but Ohlone battled their way back into the match, ruining the rhythm of Berkeley. As the match continued into a fifth and deciding game, Angela and Ying worked much more in synch, and looked to be running away with the title at 7-1. Finally Ohlone called a belated timeout, but it proved to work to their advantage, as they proceeded to win back the next three points, shortening the margin at 4-7.

This is when Berkeley’s coach made a great call, initiating a timeout that got the Bears back into their stride, winning the next point at 8-4. Ohlone took the following point, but then a backhand smash winner got Berkeley back into their groove. Two more exhilarating points later, and the Berkeley duo, who according to Angela, had never paired up before and had only practiced for one hour before starting their initial doubles matches, finally claimed a championship women’s doubles title. Congrats to the Bears for a great win!

The 2019 iSET College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and Sports & Properties Inc. and Greensboro 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 iSET, Double Happiness, SPI, Greensboro CVB, Double Fish and USA Table Tennis

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the iSET College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 12th and continues through Sunday April 14th.

About NCTTA

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. www.nctta.org

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). www.usatt.org

 

Paralympian Ari Arratia Inspires at College Championships

By Andy Kanengiser NCTTA Media Chair

Talent levels are off the charts at the NCTTA's biggest tournament of the year. The same holds true for courage levels at the 2019 college table tennis championships in Greensboro.

At the Greensboro Coliseum, it's hard to miss Ari Arratia. The 24-year-old player for the Santa Monica College table tennis team remains passionate about his favorite Olympic sport.

He played on the USA Para table tennis team for a few years through 2017. Two deformed hands, and having prosthetics substitute for both legs never stopped him from playing table tennis like a champ.

The Los Angeles resident keeps on keeping on. At one time his table tennis rating stood at 1900, but now slipped to 1650, which is still good.

Ari Arratia enjoyed his first trip to the NCTTA Nationals, traveling with his Santa Monica College teammates from California. They include SMC players like Tiziano Aiello, Ayush Kapoor and David Chow. The two-year school in Santa Monica is now in its 2nd season of NCTTA competition.

Ari also arrived at the Greensboro games with a shoulder injury, and must ice it. Still, any setbacks didn't stop the Paralympian from competing in North Carolina. The three-day tournament ends Sunday April 14.

"I lost one match I could have won,'' Ari said after his California squad fell Friday to mighty Mississippi College, the No. 2 seed. "I lost all singles matches,'' he said after suffering defeats to MC, Duke and Wright State. He plays with a paddle with a long handle that stays strapped to his hand during the games.

When the NCTTA media chair searched the Greensboro coliseum for student-athletes to interview, one of the volunteer security staffers pointed to Ari Arratia. "That's your story,'' the security man said in his native New York lingo.

Talking about his life the past two dozen years, Ari Arratia notes he's suffered from these physical disabilities since birth. "My limbs were born this way.''

Why get started with table tennis?

His Dad regularly played table tennis as a hobby for ten years at a club and got his son interested. "My Dad was an enthusiastic amateur,'' he said. "I'm a very competitive person. It's my only sport - I got started at age 12.''

Today, Ari is coached by Wei Wang. The Santa Monica College computer science major plays the game right handed. Although he points out his left hand has "more hand in there.''

These days, Ari works on his game at Southern California clubs and on the Santa Monica campus three days a week. He thanks Team USA Para stars like Tahl Leibowitz (a former table tennis standout at NYU) for providing help along his journey.

The Santa Monica College student also credits Texas Wesleyan University Rams head Coach Jasna Rather (a Para Team USA coach) with giving him  encouragement at the Greensboro games. She wants him to never quit. A former Olympic player and successful coach, Rather hopes he keeps playing the sport at the highest level.

Some California schools will be fortunate to attract Ari Arratia once his playing days end at Santa Monica College. Currently, his first choice remains the University of California at San Diego. At the Greensboro tournament, his Santa Monica coed team is seeded 14th. The University of California-San Diego is ranked 17th.

While he didn't win matches at Friday's first round, Ari mentions some of his many career highlights.That includes winning a Silver medal for Para Team USA at the Para Pan American championships. Twice he won in Para events at the U.S. Open, including a Gold medal for Class 6-7 at the 2015 tournament. He captured Gold at the 2015 Romania Open for Class 7.

Now Ari is encouraging other collegiate table tennis players with disabilities to succeed. That includes Mississippi College's Jeremy Gore of Dallas, Texas. An MC junior and an accounting major, Gore this year seeks to become a Para Team USA alternate at the Pan American Games. The two players squared off a few months ago during "friendly games'' at the U.S. Open in Orlando.

Ari knows it won't be easy to land a spot on Para Team USA roster. Table tennis, he says, "is a tough sport.''

While he gives it his best shot in table tennis matches - from practices to the U.S. Open to the NCTTA championships, Ari Arratia doesn't dwell on his handicaps. "I try not to think about it too much.''

NCTTA President Willy Leparulo applauds Ari's positive approach to table tennis and life in general.

 "We have 275 of the finest players at our tournament from dozens of colleges across the USA and Canada,'' Leparulo said. " We know many of them are inspired by Ari's powerful story, and his determination to overcome any obstacles in his path. We welcome Ari Arratia to the NCTTA family and wish him the very best.''

The 2019 iSET College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and Sports & Properties Inc. and Greensboro 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 iSET, Double Happiness, SPI, Greensboro CVB, Double Fish and USA Table Tennis

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the iSET College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 12th and continues through Sunday April 14th.

About NCTTA

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. www.nctta.org

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). www.usatt.org

Early Round Upset for UCSD Table Tennis

By Michael Reff

On Friday morning April 10 at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex, two California teams duked it out to force a deciding double’s match ending in a thrilling upset victory for 17th seed UCSD over 5th ranked Berkeley. UCSD Sophomore Anthony Chu, a 2466 rated player majoring in Math and Computer Science, along with teammate Jay Ong, an Australian international freshman Economics major, took down the Berkeley Bears in nail-biting fashion: 12-10 in the fifth game of tiebreaking doubles.

In this final fifth game, the score was extremely close but then Berkeley started to gain lead at 8-6. A pivotal timeout was called by UCSD, followed by an excellent win on serve to close the margin by one point at 7-8. Next UCSD tied it up at 8-8, whereas the next point went to them yet again, after a Berkeley backhand shot went long. This time the tables were turned, and Berkeley called the timeout, being down 8-9. They proceeded to win the next point followed by a lucky break on the net to acquire match point at 10-9. Then in a clutch play, after a series of counter loops, UCSD won the next point to make it to deuce at 10-10. At 11-10 UCSD was up and finished it in a spectacular display of reaction speed with them instantly blocking a hard drive from Berkeley. UCSD teammates cheered in loudnproud fashion and the upset was complete.

When asked how he felt about beating a much higher rated team, Jay Ong replied, that it “means a lot to come out here and perform our best.” He said that both teams played great and there was a lot of luck.

Jay’s doubles teammate Anthony Chu added that it was exciting to win. He also shed light on the double’s pairing, saying that initially he had been practicing with another teammate for doubles, but this was a last-minute switch to the roster. It may appear like it was a risk to do such a thing, but the dynamic duo of Ong and Chu pulled it off. Congrats to the UCSD King Tritons for an exciting victory in the first team match of the preliminary rounds of the NCTTA college table tennis championships.  We shall see how the competition proceeds for them.

The 2019 iSET College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and Sports & Properties Inc. and Greensboro 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 iSET, Double Happiness, SPI, Greensboro CVB, Double Fish and USA Table Tennis

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the iSET College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 12th and continues through Sunday April 14th.

About NCTTA

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. www.nctta.org

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). www.usatt.org

 

Newcomers Shine at Table Tennis Championships

By Andy Kanengiser

NCTTA Media Chair

Khaliunaa Baassankhuu brings one of the longest names to the 2019 NCTTA championships. But the 19-year-old native of Mongolia also brings much talent as a table tennis player to this weekend's collegiate tournament in North Carolina.A University of Akron sociology major, Khaliunna finds time to excel on the Ohio school's table tennis team.

Making her first trip to Nationals, Khaliunna is the only resident of Mongolia enrolled at Akron. Her country of three million people and lots of rugged mountains sits between Russia and China. Mongolia isn't flat like Ohio. Her country lacks the heavy population of more than 300 million people in the USA.

"There are really different cultures,'' she says of life in America compared to her home in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar (with one million people). "But I love it so far.''

The Akron student has two years of table tennis experience, but keeps getting better.

She's seeded 38th among 40 women signed up for singles competition at the April 12-14 tournament in Greensboro.

It's a wonderful experience at Nationals so far, Khaliunna Baasankhuu said as practices wrapped up at the Greensboro Coliseum Thursday night.

On a full academic scholarship to the University of Akron, she's getting a solid education in the USA. The Zips player wants to use her sociology degree to return to Mongolia as a youth worker. (featured above)

While playing matches at the Greensboro Coliseum, Khaliunna will hear cheers of encouragement from her Akron Zips teammates.

Sharing the 7-hour drive from the Akron campus are players Mark Hendricks, 21, a mechanical engineering major from Toledo, and Noah Nerlich, 19, a biology major from Medina, Ohio. Both are signed up for men's singles at the NCTTA's huge tournament.

With a ten player roster, the Akron Zips compete in an NCTTA division with schools like Michigan State, Case Western and West Virginia. On their Akron campus, table tennis is a growing sport.

While the three Akron players are new to the Nationals, that's the case as well for many student-athletes at several other schools. The list of newcomers includes players from Santa Monica College in California, James Madison University in Virginia and Wright State University in Ohio.

Santa Monica's coed team is seeded 14th and Wright State ranks 14th as the lively games in Greensboro began Friday.

The 2019 iSET College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and Sports & Properties Inc. and Greensboro 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 iSET, Double Happiness, SPI, Greensboro CVB, Double Fish and USA Table Tennis

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the iSET College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 12th and continues through Sunday April 14th.

About NCTTA

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. www.nctta.org

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). www.usatt.org

Canada Represented at Greensboro Tournament

By Andy Kanengiser

NCTTA Media Chair

In Canada, fans of the NBA's Toronto Raptors and pro hockey teams clearly outnumber people who love table tennis.

But players from Ryerson University in Toronto are helping showcase their favorite Olympic sport and Canada at the 2019 NCTTA championships in Greensboro, North Carolina.

During Thursday evening practices at the Greensboro Coliseum, Ryerson Rams players Juan Liyau, 20, a native of Peru, and Mustafa Malick, 22, of Pakistan were happy to represent their school. And they're delighted to represent Canada at the NCTTA's biggest tournament of the year. The April 12-14 event is attracting about 275 players across the USA and Canada.

During the winter months when heavy snow and ice is a way of life in Canada, indoor sports like table tennis grow even more popular. No need for players to worry about sub-freezing temperatures or the chilly wind blasts.

With these guys from 40,000-student Ryerson University, table tennis remains a sport they cherish year-round.

In their division, Ryerson University defeated table tennis foes in Canada like Waterloo, Western, and the University of Toronto. But the Rams team fell to Buffalo (N.Y.) in the NCTTA's Great Lakes Regionals. Buffalo's strong coed team in the Empire State is seeded 7th at the tournament. That's one notch better than the No. 8 University of Texas Longhorns.

A freshman and applied math major at his school, Liyau says he's thrilled to compete in men's singles at the NCTTA championships. So is Mustafa Malick. A Ryerson senior, Malick is a computer science major at the school in Toronto's Garden District.

Ryerson University sits near a busy intersection near the Yonge-Dundas Square. At the championship games, these talented players will stay busy this weekend.

At an early age, Liyau stepped up up his game as a kid growing up in Peru. He began playing as a 5-year-old. Juan won a table tennis title as the South American champ in 2012 for players under age 13. Today, he's rated above 2000. Juan is seeded 49th among 80 men's singles participants in Greensboro.

For the Ryerson University duo, it's their first trip to the Nationals and both guys are enjoying every minute.

 "This is a really big venue,'' Mustafa Malick said as he looked over the many tables assembled at the vast Greensboro Coliseum. The Ryerson senior who began playing as a 9th grader isn't finished with table tennis after the North Carolina tournament ends.

During the 2019-20 table tennis season, Malick will return to coach the Ryerson team and may pursue graduate school.

At the 2019 Nationals, Canada featured a couple of women giving it their best shot. They include players like Grace Zhang of the University of British Columbia. She's seeded 24th among 40 players listed for women's singles competition.

Canada is represented in other ways. Each year at NCTTA tournaments, there's time for players, fans, volunteers and others to hear Canada's National Anthem "Oh, Canada'' as well as sing the American anthem during opening ceremonies.

Over the years, schools in Canada produced awesome table tennis players at a number of schools from McGill to the University of Toronto, Ottawa, Western and Ryerson. Some players from Canada are taking final exams and couldn't make the journey to the tournament in North Carolina.

The 2019 iSET College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and Sports & Properties Inc. and Greensboro 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 iSET, Double Happiness, SPI, Greensboro CVB, Double Fish and USA Table Tennis

Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the iSET College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 12th and continues through Sunday April 14th.

About NCTTA

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. www.nctta.org

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). www.usatt.org

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