Four two-man Crimson teams will face six other pairs from Northeastern and M. I. T. in the New England Intercollegiate Ping-Pong Championships today at North-eastern University.
Harvard team entrants include Charlie Thomas and Paul Roth; Jaime and Fernando Gonzalez; Nick Nichols and Frank Tjia; and Mitchell Schiemann and UdiGupta. All but Schiemann are undergraduates.
The championships, sponsored by the United States Table Tennis Association, will consist of elimination matches with winning teams proceeding to another round. Each match will include five games-four singles and one doubles-of 21 points. The team which takes three games wins the match.
In preparation, the Harvard teams have been practicing two to four hours a day for the past two weeks. Although there is no official ping pong room in the University, the team prefers the table in Adams House.
"It's in a lousy room, but it is better than the Eliot House table, for instance, which is in nice room," Charlic Thomas said.
Thomas, a forward on the soccer team, may be the best ping-pong player on the team. Besides his ability to move quickly, Thomas has been playing table tennis for the past ten years, taking three firsts and two seconds in the five tournaments he has entered.
Thomas packs a lot of force in a conventional serve, and with his agility is able to gamble on some side shots. He has played ping-pong with his partner, Roth, for the past two years, and knows his style well. "Paul has been playing racket sports for a long time, and he is a very dependable ping pong man," Thomas said, yesterday.
The Gonzalez cousins, both members of the Crimson squash team, handle paddles with an equally light touch. "My experience on the squash team helps my touch in this game. Unlike tennis, ping pong is all in the wrist," Jaime explained yesterday.
Gupta, an occasional junior varsity soccer player, has been playing ping pong since he was six years old, when he had to wear high wooden sandles just to reach the table. His short height and small frame ??? 124 ??? allow him to do extraordinary things.
Gupta frequently serves to the same side of the table with a soft back spin, but is able to surprise his opponents many times with very powerful returns. Although not as graceful as Thomas, Gupta moves just as quickly.
Schiemann, Gupta's partner, has played ping-pong for a "very long, long time." Moving very little, he relies on side shots and powerful returns. Nichols and Tjia also have extensive experience.