Table Tennis Competes at Nationals

Published by E. Benjamin Samuels on April 18, 2011 at 10:11PM

Most of the time in college, ping-pong balls aren’t used for ping pong.

But the members of the Harvard Table Tennis Club have traded in solo cups for paddles and legitimate athletic competition.

Two Crimson teams competed in the national championships this past weekend in Rochester, Minn. The women qualified in February, and the co-ed made it in about a month later.

The event, sponsored by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association, began last Thursday and ran through yesterday afternoon. The Gopher State hosted 31 teams—24 in the co-ed division and 14 in the women’s division, with some schools sending a constituent to both.

Neither team made a serious run at the national title.The women’s team finished 11th, and the co-ed squad, which qualified for the first time in five years, came in 20th.

At the individual level, Harvard had some success. Freshman Siddarth Viswanathan, the team’s only competitor in the men’s singles championship, made it to the second round before Lindenwood’s Paulo Rocha knocked him out.

Sophomore Nancy Chen made it as far in the women’s bracket before losing to Shu Hazinski of Texas Wesleyan, the eventual national champion.

In men’s doubles and mixed doubles, Harvard teams could not make it out of the first round.

The powerhouses of the collegiate table tennis world? Texas Wesleyan and Lindenwood, who finished first and second, respectively, in both the co-ed and women’s divisions.