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Weber hosts first table tennis tournament

Table Tennis paddles lay flat on a table alongside a ping pong ball next to the net.

Weber State University’s Table Tennis Club hosted their first ever tournament on Nov. 18. It was an all-day event with six teams, including Weber State University, University of Utah, Utah State University, Brigham Young University, Utah Valley University and Colorado Mesa University.

“The tournament was a huge success,” Kendrick Bolos, table tennis president, said. “We have never hosted one, so we were nervous, but then we had over 50 people sign up, and it turned out great! There were great matches all the way around, and although we didn’t finish in first, we got to see some unique styles of play and so much diversity. Meeting people from Ukraine, Iran, Russia and other places around the world.”

The Aggies had one team and came in first (6–0), followed by the Utes, who brought two teams (5–1), a team unaffiliated with a university finished third (4–2), the Mavericks had two teams and finished fourth (3–3), our Wildcats also had two teams and finished fifth (2–4), and the Cougars had five teams and finished sixth (1–6), and Wolverines had one team and also finished sixth (1–6).

“I started the club in 2019 with pretty humble beginnings,” Jackson Bolos, former table tennis president, said. “It’s not the easiest thing to become a fully recognized and sponsored sports club on campus. We started with our own equipment, a few friends, and a few hundred dollars out of pocket to make an appearance at the NCTTA [National Collegiate Table Tennis Association] Divisional Tournament. It’s been super rewarding to see the fast growth and increased support from the school.”

Table Tennis is the official name of the sport. It is a fast-paced game requiring quick reflexes, agility and precision. Many people refer to it as pingpong, but these two games are quite different.

In pingpong, the game goes to 21 and alternates every five serves. In table tennis, a match is the best of three out of five games. Every game goes to 11 points, winning by two points to end the game. Although, some matches have reached far greater than 11 points, going up to 24 points. The game requires the players to alternate every two serves.

“With teams of four, as we had in this tournament, if two players win their match and then two players lose their match, a doubles match between the two teams is played to break the tie with a similar scoring method,” Kendrick Bolos said.

The table tennis club is year-round and currently has a roster of 12 people. They are hoping to grow as they continue to host and attend more tournaments. The Wildcats practice two nights a week for an hour and a half and are coached by Bruce Majors, who played table tennis internationally.

The club has about one tournament each semester. Typically, they take place in Grand Junction, Colorado, but after this successful tournament hosted at Weber, they have a positive outlook on hosting more events on campus and totaling four tournaments in a year.

“I would’ve never thought four years ago we’d ever be able to host a tournament with over 50 sign-ups and six schools! But here we are! Some fortunate networking with JOOLA and our volunteer coach, Bruce Majors, have really helped us get off the ground. With the current trajectory, I anticipate Weber to become the hub of the collegiate table tennis revival,” Jackson Bolos said.

The next tournament will either be here at Weber or in Grand Junction, Colorado, at the beginning of the new year. In March, the club is planning to host another tournament that will award prizes to the winners.

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Jacoba Jones, Sports reporter

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