Article and photos by: Gracie King | Feature Editor | email@example.com
If you want a soft serve, you’ll have to go to Dairy Queen. South Alabama’s Table Tennis Club brought the heat at their first annual tournament at the Student Rec Center on April 23rd. With over 30 players from Pensacola, Tuscaloosa, and Birmingham, the tournament featured some of the best in the South.
The first round of matches was organized in a round-robin fashion, where each player went against one another and was later eliminated after a loss. After the initial round, players advanced to the semifinals after besting their opponents out of five games.
This led to six nailbiting matches of the semifinals where almost each match played through all five games.
One of these matches consisted of Pensacola player, Alina Wen and Mobile player James Lastname.
“I’ve been playing for over 10 years, since 2009. Where I’m from, there’s not a lot going on so it was just something to do. After a while, I got a coach and kept practicing and now, here I am!” Wen said.
While the club is still considered relatively new as they continue to garner new membership, the members are quite dedicated to their craft. You can often find Trisha Agrawal, president of the club and planner of the tournament, practicing her skills from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Rec Center.
Though she’s only been playing for a little over a year, she has enjoyed meeting new friends and learning the many intricacies of the sport. She also feels empowered by her participation in table tennis, as men and women can compete against and learn from each other.
“The cool thing about table tennis is that girl and boys are equal and also kids. In some tournaments, little kids can beat grown men, so I enjoy that everyone can play and be good at it,” Agrawal said.
Jacob Younce, an original founder of the club and South alumni, took home the gold after putting up a solid effort throughout the duration of the tournament.
“We originally started this club in 2018, 2019, and we started going and traveling to divisionals and regionals through the college, and then slowly as I graduated, we started a Mobile table tennis club,” Younce said. “We started off with about 4 or 6 members, now we’re at 10 or 12 come on average, still looking to play and grow as much as possible,”
If you’re interested in joining the club, just head over to the Rec Center and play a quick round. You’ll probably end up meeting one of the members and make a new friend!