(by Steve Hopkins)
As the smallest State at just 37 miles wide and 48 miles long, Rhode Islanders take special pride in competing nationally. Table tennis is no different – and Rhode Island Table Tennis (the only club in our State) works very hard to make our presence felt throughout this region.
This weekend Brown University is competing in the 2019 iSET College Table Tennis Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina. As New England Division Champions in both Coed and Women’s team events, Brown University will have entrants in both team events as well as singles events this weekend.
Earlier in the week, Rhode Island Table Tennis hosted the Brown team to help them prepare for the weekend. RITTA league players and others invited from the area did our best to provide a variety of styles of play in a competitive environment with playing conditions similar to what they will face in Greensboro.
Brown’s women’s team is anchored by Jiarou Quan and Yiquan Xu. The top-rated player on their men’s team is Singapore native Julian Woo, and their second rated player, Charles Deng, is a former US Junior Team member. It’s a very talented group, but table tennis in the college ranks is incredibly competitive with 11 players in the men’s draw over 2500 (five of those are over 2650). The powerhouse teams, like Texas Wesleyan, offer scholarships and have full-time coaches. The top seeds this year are NYU, Mississippi College, and Texas Wesleyan. NYU and TWU both have two players over 2600 on their roster, while Mississippi College has one player of that level, but additional depth with two other players in the 2500s. Brown University’s Coed team is seeded 10th overall, and their women’s team is also seeded 10th in the women’s event.
At Brown, the students focus on their academics first, and table tennis is a club activity. But that doesn’t mean they don’t take it seriously. This team is always one of the strongest in the region, and this year finished first in the Division. Their results are already a success story, regardless of how the perform. And we look forward to watching as they represent their school and our little State at the Collegiate Championships.
Day 1 NCTTA Results Update:
In Men’s Doubles, Charles Deng and Julian Woo won their first match 3-0 over UTSA, and then fell to UC Irvine’s team of Krish Avvari/Newman Cheng in the Round of 16 (3-2). Brown’s Men’s team advanced to the knock-out stage and will face UC Davis on Saturday in the Round of 16 of the Championship Division. Singles events will commence on Saturday as well.