Add table tennis to the list of sports worth watching at OSU this year. Oregon State University Table Tennis Club’s competitive team won a record 18 matches out of 22 last season. They finished second in the Pacific Northwest division; University of Oregon finished first.
With some strong incoming freshman this year, Michael Bunker, president of the club and a senior at OSU, said that the team has a good chance of winning the division and going to the regional tournament again this year.
The Club will resume practice when the new term starts, meeting on Tuesday and Thursday from 7:00 to 9:00pm at Dixon Recreation Center’s lower court. “We as a club want and encourage new players to join,” said Bunker. Students and OSU community members who have Recreational Sports memberships can join.
Bunker said that people often feel intimidated about joining the club because many of the members are skilled competitors who have been playing and competing a long time. Bunker played table tennis since he was a kid but didn’t start playing competitively until his freshman year at OSU.
“We all play because we love the game, and we don’t want people to feel like they don’t belong at our club because they are beginners,” Bunker said. “Many of our members, myself included, started out as beginners when we first joined the club and were met with open arms and advice by the more experienced players.”
The coed club averages about 20-25 active members but only the top four to eight players play on the competitive team. They compete annually through the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association, which has a similar role to college football’s NCAA.
There were 11 active teams in the Northwest division last season from Oregon, Washington, and Canada. The season starts in the fall and ends in the beginning of spring. There are division and regional tournaments as well as a national championship.
But if you’re not quite ready for nationals, OSU offers a Table Tennis PAC class on the fundamentals of the game and how to play. “It is taught by one of our best and most knowledgeable players, Moo Song Kim,” said Bunker. “Anyone who is looking for a primer on the sport and how to play would benefit immensely from his class.”
For more information about the club, show up to one of their practices when the new term starts or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lana Jones