Amanda Camacho, The Paisano
Did you know UTSA has a table tennis organization? UTSA’s table tennis team has placed first at the South Texas Division Tournament and the National Collegiate Table Tennis (NCTTA) tournament. They’re making a big name for themselves—and they don’t intend to stop.
UTSA’s table tennis organization began in 2008, but eventually dissolved with no student interest in the sport. UTSA student Adrian Guajardo brought the club back to life in 2012, starting with only five members.
Today, it is 40 members strong. The group is both large and diverse, having students from locations like Saudi Arabia, India, Mexico and Iran.
“We encourage anybody who wants to join to come to practice, whether they love playing table tennis or want to increase their playing skills,” club president Guajardo exclaims.
Just like every other club, challenges are present that make things more difficult for the team. The growing size of the team continues to cause problems during practice. “We only have three tables and we have forty members,” Guajardo states.
With only two hours to practice, Guajardo believes it’s not enough. To compensate, the club practices on the weekend off-campus at the San Antonio Table Tennis Club. Despite the inconvenience, Guajardo doesn’t mind the organization’s size.
“If they are passionate about it, I don’t care if we have 100 members — anybody is welcome,” Guajardo says. The club is currently seeking more female members.
The group has discovered a convenient way to determine who will play at competitions. “We have a tournament within ourselves based on who is better or who has been coming to practice more consistently,” Guajardo says.
Now that the group has a coach, the process might change. Currently, the coach for UTSA’s table tennis group is Jeff Nguyen. Previous coaches include UTSA professors Charles Liu and Ichishiro Konno.
The team’s goal for this year is to make it to nationals. Now that the team has a coach, Guajardo believes they can make it. The team has even started recruiting members from other universities, such as new member Irving Zavala from St. Mary’s University, who previously played for his country in Honduras.
Even with dedicated members, Guajardo hopes to see more recognition from the students at UTSA. “I encourage anyone to come because we practice really hard…we emphasize a lot on dedication and hard work,” Guajardo says. “I want the club to keep on growing. Maybe in fifty years we will have scholarships for table tennis.”
The table tennis organization practices every Monday and Thursday from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at UTSA’s Recreation Center Game Lounge. There is also additional practice time on Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the San Antonio Table Tennis Club on Huebner. The annual membership fee is $10.
For more information, visit the club’s Facebook page at facebook.com/utsa.tabletennis.