(By Amy Karpinski)
On August 14-16, 2020, Cape Fear Table Tennis Club (CFTTC) in Fayetteville, NC, held its first ever 2 star tournament. Known for running highly successful 0 star tournaments, it was decided that we would step up and run our first two star tournament when our February 0 star tournament sold out in one week! A lot of prep work came into sanctioning this tournament. We applied for a grant through the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and received funds which allowed us to reserve the Freedom Courts Sportsplex which gave us 46,000 square feet of playing area! Butterfly agreed to provide 16 tables and 200 barriers. Primerica Insurance sponsored funds for prize money. All of this put together enabled us to set up a high quality 2 star tournament.
And then comes COVID. Our original date in June was pushed back to August. A carousel of players entered and withdrew from the tournament. We had a healthy waiting list for Saturday’s main event pretty much the entire time. One week before the tournament, the Governor of NC decided to keep the state in Phase II of the pandemic shut down. We knew we had the space to run a safe clean tournament and according to the State’s phase II tournament guidelines, we could run the tournament as long as there were no more than 10 spectators. This did not include athletes, coaches, volunteers, or venue staff. After many discussions, we decided to proceed with the tournament. We allotted the 10 spectator spaces to the parent of a youth competitor. We allowed guests to come if they volunteered for two to four hours. This allowed us to have volunteers for sanitizing tables and balls after each use, doing temperature checks at the door, working at the registration tables to ensure the appropriate waivers were signed, and setting up and taking down all of the tables and barriers. Running a tournament during the COVID-19 pandemic required an army of volunteers and we were grateful to have had that army!
After a full afternoon of table, barrier, media, control and reception table set up, we were ready to greet the first players for warm up on Friday night and compete in a scheduled fun unsanctioned event. It was originally scheduled to be a doubles event, but due to social distancing that was not possible. As a result this event had a wide range of players from first time competitors to a 2577 rated player. The end result was that Yinka Olasoji from Dallas, TX placed first. Oluwole Ayangade from Atlanta placed second and Allan Anzagira from Greensboro, NC placed third.
Saturday brought the competitors out nice and early and every player showed up! It was like a family reunion with players greeting each other like long lost friends. A preliminary round was played in the morning with groups being broken out into A, B, C & D groups. The competition was fierce at the tables and friendly off! The top two in each of the groups in Divisions B, C, & D earned their way to the play offs and the top four in the two A groups moved on. At the end of the day, the results were:
1st Place – Roy Everman from Charlotte, NC
2nd Place – Justin Foxworth from Myrtle Beach, SC
3rd Place – Forest Good from Fayetteville, NC
1st Place – David Pannell from Myrtle Beach, SC
2nd Place – Grey Wollman from Myrtle Beach, SC
3rd Place – Brian Poore from Hubert, NC
1st Place – Veiko Kibena from Miami, FL
2nd Place – Allan Anzagira from Greensboro, NC
3rd Place – Elias Gomez from Charlotte, NC
1st Place – Adar Alguetti from Tenafly, NJ
2nd Place – Sharon Alguetti from Tenafly, NJ
3rd Place – Di Yu from Morrisville, NC
Sunday morning brought both new and previous day players. The morning saw a full event in the 1700+ event. 24 players fought hard but at the end of the day, the results were as follows;
1st Place – Sharon Alguetti from Tenafly, NJ
2nd Place – Adar Alguetti from Tenafly, NJ
3rd Place – Yinka Olasoji from Dallas, TX
The last event of the tournament was 36 players fighting hard in the U1700 event. It was a long afternoon with many matches going the full five games. But at the end of the day, the results were as follows:
1st Place – Kenai Rios from Raleigh, NC
2nd Place – Jim Li from Charlotte, NC
3rd Place – Tyler Flickinger from Charlotte, NC
We are proud not only of the winners, but all of the competitors that fought so far in this tournament. Many people have asked me if it was worth it. We didn’t make money from this tournament (due to COVID-19 restrictions). We spent endless hours mapping things out and preparing to run the safest tournament possible. But at the end of the day, what matters is that for one weekend, the worries of an insane world disappeared. The focus was on table tennis, seeing old friends, and making new ones. What made it worth it? Smiles.
Thank you to all the players that braved the craziness to make this event happen. We appreciate you and are grateful to you for making our event so successful!
Amy Karpinski, President – Cape Fear Table Tennis Club
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