On April 8, led by team captain Rachel Yang ’23 and club president Xinyue Mao ’22, the university’s women’s table tennis team performed at the Round Rock Sports Center, marking the the club’s first appearance at the National Collegiate Table. National Tennis Association (NCTTA) competition. More than 250 athletes from across the United States and 16 women’s teams competed at the 2022 NCTTA Championships in Round Rock, Texas.
For the 2021-22 academic year, Syracuse had a particularly strong team with many talented table tennis players, including Rachel Yang ’23 (finance and business analysis), Priya Rao (grad student in data science), Yaqin Tang (Chemical Engineering graduate student), Yiheng Zhang ’24 (Public Relations and Psychology), and Xinyue Mao ’22 (Mathematics). The team worked long and hard in their divisional and regional tournaments to defeat many tough competitors and qualify directly for the championships.
Professor Weiwei Zheng, the team’s educational advisor, said: “We are so proud that our women’s team has reached the national championships and is now among the elite players at the university level. We are extremely grateful for the support of the Barnes Center Leisure Team at The Arch, Student Experience, as well as many teachers and friends, in making the national trip possible.
During the preliminary stage competitions leading to the championships, the Syracuse team defeated Brown, Texas A&M and lost to MIT, advancing them to the last eight in the championship draw. In the knockout stage, after losing slightly to Texas with a 2:3 record, the team became the tied five team, which is the highest score in team history.
“I feel so lucky to have been part of the club for four years and to have had the chance to play in the national championships with our team before graduating,” said Mao, president of the club. “I believe that next year both the men’s team and the women’s team can participate in the national championships and achieve better results – I wish them the best!”