The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Table tennis club attends first tournament in 10 years

Junior Sam Anthony lunges for a ball during the table tennis club tournament in Pittsburgh. (Photo courtesy of Sam Anthony ’24)

The Lafayette table tennis club, which was revamped in 2021, sent four members to its first tournament at the University of Pittsburgh this past weekend. In a round-robin tournament, players from the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon, Bryn Mawr and Lafayette dueled it out on the tabletop.

Members from the University of Pittsburgh reached out to Lafayette after having the tournament scheduled through the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA) because they knew that Lafayette used to compete 10 years ago.

Each of the four members participating played another member from Pittsburgh, the University of Pennsylvania and Carnegie Mellon. Lafayette went 1-11 total, with sophomore Sidath Chandrasena beating the representative from Carnegie Mellon for the team’s only win of the day. He was also close to beating his opponent from the University of Pennsylvania, losing 10-12 in the fifth set.

“As some of these universities are quite big in comparison to Lafayette, they appeared to have well established table tennis teams and coaches that had competed in previous years,” Chandrasena wrote in an email. “I think that playing in a tournament can be really different to practicing, because of the mental pressure, change in environment and different playing styles you encounter.”

Chandrasena, who has been playing table tennis since he was eight, said that table tennis has been a large part of his life. He played competitively and went to nationals tournaments in different parts of Australia before Lafayette.

“Once I was admitted to Lafayette, I looked for a local club where I could practice with my roommate, who is also a table tennis player,” he wrote. “The club this year meets weekly on Sundays from 2-4pm, and has a large membership, with 125 members in the GroupMe chat. Unlike other clubs, weekly attendance is not required and students are welcome to attend whenever they feel like having a hit.”

Junior Sam Anthony, the club president, explained that there is a balance between beginner and competitive players. Some higher-level players are switching over from playing regular tennis, Anthony said.

“The skills kind of transfer, it’s not like they’re new at the game, it’s a new kind of style,” he said.

Chandrasena appreciates that the club gives people the opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds, cultures and skill levels.

“Table tennis has helped me to get to know and connect with new people simply by tossing a ball over a table,” Chandrasena wrote.  

Lafayette could not play against Bryn Mawr’s members at this tournament because it has neither a women’s or co-ed team. Anthony said that the club would like to form a women’s team in the future.

The club plans to attend another competition in late January and regionals in February if they qualify.

“I think it was a solid effort as our first time entering the tournament scene representing Lafayette,” Chandrasena wrote of the tournament. “Now that we can gauge the level of competition, I believe we can do better next year.”

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Caroline McParland, Sports Editor

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