(By Sally Moyland)
It was nice to meet the Butterfly people this time in Vegas, they have given me great support and I’m grateful for everything they have done. It was also pretty cool to meet Larry Hodges for the first time, and see him do some of his cool table tennis tricks.
Overall, at this Nationals, I managed my behavior and emotions quite well. Skill-wise I performed much better than before, with my forehand loop being more consistent. Even so, there were a few matches I didn’t keep everything together, and missed opportunities to advance to better seeding. I learned that every match is important and needs to be taken seriously.
On the first day of competition, Faith Hu and I teamed up to play in the Minicadet Girls’ Teams. We struggled a little in the round robin, but at the end managed to come in first place. It was a good start to help me in the rest of my competition throughout the week.
I was much more focused during the Minicadet singles matches. Minicadet Girls’ Singles was my target event for this Nationals. Especially, when I played Sarah Jalli and Kayleigh Cui. In previous matches, I have struggled hard playing them. This time I kept calm, didn’t rush, and fought for each
individual point while not worrying about the score or winning and losing. When I played Sarah, I stayed close to the table and was more aggressive in the topspin rallies.
The next day, I played Kayleigh in the Minicadet Girls’ finals. Kayleigh is a chopper. I was lucky enough to play her early in the day rather than at night, because every time I play her so late I usually run out of gas. However, in this match I was much more consistent on my overall game and execution of the strategy my coach gave me.
I am very happy to have met so many new people that can help me on my table tennis journey. I am also quite happy about my performance, especially fighting hard on every point. This was true even when I knew I had no way to win against somebody such as LiLy Zhang in the Women’s Singles eighths. It is such a great help getting a lot of support from my coach, my family, my friends, and my Butterfly sponsor. I will keep working to get better and to stand on the international stage representing the USA.