Underdog ping pong club succeeds at state

Kerui Yang, page editor

Despite being its first time competing at the state Table Tennis Tournament, Edina High School’s Ping Pong Club managed to place fifth overall. Held in the gym of the Academy of Holy Angels, the State Tournament ran from around eight in the morning all the way to four in the afternoon on Feb. 10.

The first part of the tournament was a round robin in which teams were placed into smaller pools with three other teams. Then, the two best teams of each pool would move onto the main bracket while the other two teams would move onto the consolation matches. Since Edina lost all three of their initial rounds, they were placed into the consolation matches. In the consolation matches, Edina was able to win the consolation finals, allowing them to be placed fifth.

However, despite it being a competition, the atmosphere of state was very different compared to other sports’ tournaments since “[Ping pong] is more of a sport for recreation and [students] do it for fun,” junior club member Shay Reger said.

It’s more relaxed ambience could also be attributed to the fact that many of the students already knew each other from other activities. For Shay, “it was pretty cool because many of the competitors had a tennis for foundation, and so I knew a lot of the people there. Everyone was very friendly!”

Even though the tournament was more for fun than rigorous games, the competition spirit only increased as the tournament progressed. “Ping pong is less serious, but we did take it more serious than we thought we would. We were cheering for people. There was even an entire section of basketball court seatings that was three quarters full cheering for the championships,” junior Club President Paul Krenik said.

The club’s success was a great surprise to both themselves and other schools since they only held practice during the club meetings once a week on Fridays, earning themselves the title of being the underdogs. But don’t let the title fool you. Since its inception, the members of the Ping Pong Club has worked hard to reach their skill level. “The improvement from last year has been very dramatic since some people weren’t able to hit backhands and forehands before, but now we can compete at very high levels!” Krenik said.

Yet, their victory only adds to their motivation to expand the club into an actual sport starting next year. Although their club advisor, Snr. Diaz, is leaving for South Korea after this year, they are considering to have Mr. Millan to act as their new coach. But either as a club or a sport, you will surely see the Ping Pong Club competing at the state tournament again next year, and for the years to come.