(Pictured to the left is Pamela Song and to the right is Josue Layuno)
Every sport has its own kind of "personality" and College Table Tennis is no different on that regard. Every year 250 or so College Table Tennis athletes come together. We at NCTTA like to highlight some of the folks that provide a bit more spunk to the game then your typical forehand or backhand. People that you will be able to pick out of a crowd and know that is someone who loves what they do!
First, let’s meet Josue Layuno hailing from the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. Josue is a freshmen at University of Connecticut and has a superstitious knack of wearing “super hero socks” and has been nicknamed “Superman" by many in the Northeast.
Josue traveled to a US team tournament when he was younger and they needed an inexpensive uniform and the idea of wearing super hero socks came into play. Josue says, “From that tournament on, I always use my super hero socks on important tournaments for extra luck. Call it superstitious or whatever, but I enjoy using these lucky socks.”
He enjoys being “the guy behind the superhero socks” and certainly once you see or hear him play, you will see or hear very clearly why he fits in perfectly with the #loudnproud NCTTA twitter hashtag!
We are lucky to have Josue join us this year and look forward to him being a popular mainstay in College Table Tennis.
Another person we are lucky to have is veteran Pamela Song who is fairly open about her “wacky” pips game. Song, the former penhold smooth player, said probably with a wry smile, “haha thank you! I take “wacky” as a compliment!” Truth be told she makes pips play look so effortless! Song, a proud Vegan Athlete, talks about her play style over the years, “I grew more mature as a person, so did my games. I look at wins and losses from a different perspective now, and I would say I am so much more patient than ever!”
Song started her playing days when she was 10 years old in Beijing China and interestingly enough was into soccer a bit more but because of all the bruises her mom encouraged her more to do a less physical sport. Song wasn’t much of the traditional Barbie doll kind of girl growing up but the idea of Table Tennis was something that grew on her. Song says, “I learned really fast and beat everyone in my school within one year, and I got a lot of attention from people! I got interviews from CCTV, and I got chosen to play table tennis with the mayor of Beijing and the former president of China, Hu Jintao.”
One look at this 5 foot 6 Wisconsin woman athlete and you think “I can take her, no big deal.” But what actually does happen might make you cry, but don’t worry she is too kind to make you look too bad! Pamela is studying Biochemistry with honors in research and loves science and helping people.
Watch for Pamela and Josue in the upcoming championships!
The 2016 TMS College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and the Round Rock 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, and Joola.
Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the TMS College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday March 25th and continues through Sunday March 27th at the Round Rock Sports Center
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