Table Tennis national event descends on Western Pennsylvania
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Over the next few days, The Club Sport and Health and Double Tree hotel in Monroeville will be playing host to the 2014 TMS College Table Tennis National Championships.
The event will feature more than 250 student-athletes representing more than 40 colleges competing Friday through Sunday in men's and women's singles and doubles competitions as well as women's and coed team championships.
The National Collegiate Table Tennis Association — the governing body for all collegiate table tennis — has been hosting the event at a different location nearly every year since its founding in 1993. Bids are put out between November and January, and a location is chosen based on several factors, including quality of equipment, spectator space and even lighting, said Andy Kanengeiser, the public relations representative for the NCTTA.
Monroeville was chosen over several locations, including San Francisco and Charlotte, N.C., largely thanks to the venue's proximity to quality hotel accommodations.
“When we look at bids, we look to see who's got the biggest facility, who's the most cost-effective,” NCTTA president Willy Leparulo said, “and they were the best.”
Tournament play begins Friday morning with the men's singles preliminary rounds, including Anthony Lewis, a senior psychology and biology double major at Duquesne.
Although Penn State also will be represented in the men's singles and coed team tournaments, Lewis is the only local participant in the national championships, making him the exception to one of the tournament rules.
“We typically require all of our athletes to stay in the hotel,” Leparulo said, “but he called us up and said, ‘Hey bro, I live like 15 minutes from Monroeville. Do I really have to stay at the hotel?' ”
Lewis hopes to take advantage of having so many fellow table tennis enthusiasts coming to the area.
“Although there is a table tennis scene in Pittsburgh, it's mostly dominated by older players,” he said, “so I'm going to be totally thrilled to get to know some younger people who are as interested in the sport as I am.”
Lewis will be facing world-class competition, as several current and hopeful Olympians will be taking part in the tournament, both as singles and members of various teams.
All competition is open to the public, with three-day passes costing $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Single-day passes are $5 and $4, respectively.
Gary Horvath is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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