There are six players on the Bryn Mawr team: Vinty Guo ’20, Lizzie Siegle ’18, Natalie Stern (postbac), Alice Tang ‘18, Maggie Zhong ’21, and Linda Zhu ’20.
While none of them have played competitively before, earlier this semester the team took first place in the Pennsylvania Division, earning a trip to the Mid-Atlantic Regionals in North Carolina. There, they took home the women's championship for the region. Next they're headed to the NCTTA (National College Table Tennis Association) National Championships in Texas, which will take place from April 20 to 22.
We caught up with two of their players — Alice and Linda — to ask them a few questions about their success.
So how are you feeling about going to Nationals?
Alice: “Honestly, I still can’t believe that we’re going to nationals. We didn’t even think we were going to make it to regionals; none of us had the experience playing competitively, and none of us have professional or intensive training. And now here we are! … I’m a senior, I’m also on the badminton varsity team, and just this semester I’ve flown to seven other states for interviews for optometry schools, so it can get a little crazy, but I’m still very excited and proud.”
What’s the team dynamic?
Alice: “Our team is really bonded — [at tournaments], those of us who weren’t playing cheered on the sidelines at every round. We encourage one another.”
Linda: “We didn’t expect to make it to so many tournaments, and it took up a large amount of my time — more than I expected. there’s so much going on! But when things get really stressful, I know I can ask my team for help.”
What are you hoping for the table tennis team this spring?
Alice: “I feel like going to competitions is a good way to get to know new people and players at other universities and colleges in the area; because our coach had a lot of connections, we got to join this network of friendly and nice people. Also, at nationals, because all the players will be staying in the same hotel for five days, I think there will be a lot of connections and hanging out.”
Linda: “Even though we’re not really the strongest team, and we’re going to be at nationals where other teams will be very very good, I think the good thing is that we always tried our best at every tournament. At past tournaments, everyone was always anxious — we were afraid that we’d meet really good teams, and now we know we will, because it’s nationals.”
Are you still anxious?
Alice: “Because we made it to the finals. We know that we’re lucky at this moment, and we don’t feel pressure to take first place or anything.”
Linda: “Going to nationals in the first place really blew my mind, because we didn’t have any expectations.”
Alice: “This tournament we can just play, have fun, and see what happens. Our players and coach have devoted so much effort into training, planning and coordinating, pursuing a big magic dream that nobody would even imagine. We feel so proud of our team and each individual player."