Table-tennis tourney heads to Field House

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Table-tennis tourney heads to Field House

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By Mikhayla Hughes-Shaw

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The University of Iowa Table Tennis Club, which has struggled to maintain the number of members needed in order to compete, is making a comeback by hosting of the Midwestern Regional Tournament.

National Collegiate Table Tennis Association officials will hold the tournament at the Field House on Saturday and Feb. 26.

“Although the Table Tennis Club has been around since [around] the 1970s, this is only the second year that our club has been officially represented in the [national association],” said Arnold Kompaniyets, one of the UI club officials.

In 2015, Dylan Garland and Kompaniyets formed the groups that are now the co-ed and all women’s teams. Kompaniyets said it was difficult at first to find new interests, but the club members plan on using more outreach on campus during the upcoming school year.

The success as a growing club are beginning to be noticed, and club members will compete against nine other teams in the Midwest for the regional championship title.

“We will expect nearly 100 athletes to travel to Iowa City for the upcoming weekend,” Kompaniyets said.

The team members have high hopes of placing for the national competition; they are seeded eighth in the Midwest region.  Only three teams will be receiving direct qualifications to nationals.

Garland said he is most excited about the exposure that will come from the event.

“We want to get more people to know about the sport,” he said.  “It may not be as [popular] in the United States, but it is the No. 2 most played sport in the world.”

Zhancai Huang, a member of the UI team, said he hopes the tournament goes well because it is the first time it will be held here.

Haung, who is from China, said he sees his teammates as a family, and said they learn from each other in more ways than one.

Huang said he teaches his teammates Chinese phrases, and his teammates help him work on his English.

Kompaniyets said he enjoys the positive company of his teammates. 

“Over the course of the past two years, our team has not only grown as players but also as friends,” he said. “Even during our regular practices, there is rarely a dull moment.”

The team members are looking forward to this weekend, and they highly encourage community members to attend.

“It is our hope that our fellow Hawkeyes will be able to join us and cheer us on, showing the Midwest what Hawkeye pride is all about,” Kompaniyets said.

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