(by Steve Hopkins)
On May 18th, Rhode Island Table Tennis held their annual Rhode Island Juniors Closed and the Rhode Island High School Championships. It is a modest event in a small State but there is recognizable impact for the club and the schools that sent players. This year there were 23 singles entries in addition to the High School teams. A trophy was given to every competitor.
This is an annual promotion run by Rhode Island Table Tennis to help reach out to some players that would otherwise not be aware of the facility or table tennis events. The results for this tournament appeared in one community newspaper (the Warwick Beacon), and in newsletters at all three institutions that placed in the team event. *This outreach targets groups of potential players who have some personal connection to those that competed. These three schools have 2000 students between them, and the RI State High School Team Champion trophy is now on display at Bishop Hendricken High School.
High School Team Championship: Bishop Hendricken High School dominated the field in the High School team Championship. The all-boys Catholic High School in Warwick, RI has three tables and an active club. They also have the advantage of a teacher/sponsor who is a regular member at the Rhode Island Table Tennis club, and while he didn’t play in this tournament, they also have a senior player who has been a part of the RITTA weekly advanced league. The Hendricken Team won the final over St. Raphael Academy “SAINTS” 2 matches to 0. Hendricken’s team of Lucas Figury, Liam Zizza, and Neil Dunca each finished undefeated, as the team won all of their matches 2-0. St. Raphael Academy in Woonsocket, RI entered two teams with their “SAINTS” team advancing to the final undefeated, before falling to Hendricken. St. Raphael’s “SAINTS” team included Ella Olea, Amrit Kohli, and Mehar Kohli.
Third place went to St. Peters School, a K-8 Catholic School that was playing in a higher division. Their fifth grade team included EJ Saroka, Ethan Aldrich, and was anchored by U12 State Champion Alex Hopkins. Fourth place went to St. Raphael’s “Golden” team of Serena Rose Gaskin and Rachel Phuong.
The RI Juniors Championship title went to Liam Zizza and the runner up was Lucas Figury. Liam was the second seed, and Lucas was the third seed entering the event. The RI Girls Championship title went to Ella Olea who outlasted Rachel Phuong in the final 3-1. The RI 12 & Under Champion is Alex Hopkins who defeated D’Ante Brown 3-0 in the final.