From April 10-12, club table tennis made its 10th consecutive appearance at the National Collegiate Table Tennis Championships, hosted this year in Eau Claire, Wis. Princeton defended the women’s team championships while also winning the women’s doubles event and medaling in women’s singles.
Representing Princeton at Nationals were sophomores Ariel Hsing, Robin Li and Shirley Fu, freshmen Zach Weingarten, Erica Wu, Justin Do and Avinash Nayak.
Set out to defend last year’s women’s team title, Princeton entered the tournament this year at the No. 1 seed, armed with table tennis powerhouses Wu, Fu and Hsing. The Tigers defeated the University of South California and Cornell in preliminary matches, and in the championship bracket, Princeton swept the University of Texas in three singles matches and then outplayed No. 3 Texas Wesleyan University.
To win the title, Princeton uprooted rival UC Berkeley in a tight best-of-three event that extended the full five matches. In a matchup of tournament titans, the Wu and Hsing narrowly escaped Berkeley’s Lily Zhang and Ellan Hwang to clinch the Tiger’s victory.
Moreover, Princeton’s success in doubles did not end there. Hsing and Wu were the clear favorites to win women’s doubles. Accordingly, Princeton proceeded to dominate Texas, Duke and Texas Wesleyan to claim the title for the first time in recent history.
In the co-ed bracket, Princeton encountered a far steeper field of competition. Most notably, Texas Wesleyan’s star team loomed at the No. 1 seed while the Tigers entered at the No. 5 seed. To start off, Princeton swept McGill University in three matches but then fell to No. 3 USC. In a match to determine Princeton’s final place, Berkeley swept the Tigers and brought them down to seventh place.
Wu mentioned that the team aims to eventually medal in the co-ed event.
To round off a busy tournament, Hsing, Fu and Wu all fought to defend the Tiger’s women’s singles title. Ranked at first, third, and fourth seed respectively, the three powerhouses won their way to the semifinals. In a match between two Tigers, Hsing narrowly defeated teammate Fu. Unfortunately, Berkeley’s star player Zhang defeated Wu in the second of two semifinals and then upset Hsing in the finals.
“I’m used to being in high level environments. For me, it’s just about knowing that I’ve done a lot of practice. I try to enjoy the competition and relax,” Wu, who has represented the United States at the national and Olympic levels since the age of 15, said.
Correction: Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this article did not report that Marisa Chow '17 was also a member of the Princeton Table Tennis Club. Chow is the Co-President of the organization. Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this article misstated the year of Justin Do. Do is a sophomore. The 'Prince' regrets the errors.