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Santa Monica College Table Tennis Team Headed to National Championship
By Lookout Staff
March 18, 2019 -- After winning their division and sweeping through the regionals, the Santa Monica College table tennis team is headed for the National championship next month in North Carolina.
SMC's team advanced to the nationals after easily dispatching the University of Washington 3-1, USC 3-1 and Stanford University 4-0 at the regionals March 9 and 10.
They had taken the divisional tournament by defeating UCLA 3-1; California State University, Northridge 3-2; and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo 4-0 on February 9.
“We have a very talented team," said Kamran Khairzad, the SMC team’s coach and school alum. "They worked really hard to make it to the national championship, and I am so proud of them!”
The SMC Table Tennis Team is composed of
* Ayush Kapoor, who is majoring in statistics at SMC and has played for the junior national team in India;
* Tiziano Aiello, an SMC Business major who played for the junior national team in Italy;
*Ari Arratio, an SMC Computer Science major from Venice, California, who plays for Team USA Paralympics, and
* David Chow, a Los Angeles native who also plays for several local clubs.
An inductee into the California Table Tennis Hall of Fame, the SMC Table Tennis Program has a "storied history in the world of table tennis," AMC officials said.
The game -- commonly referred to as “ping-pong” -- was introduced the the college as a physical education course by retired SMC professor and Hall of Famer Jo Kidd, who founded the school's Community Recreation (Co-Rec) Program.
One of its members -- the late Glenn Cowan -- was the youngest player on the first U.S. table tennis team to compete in 1971's “Ping-pong diplomacy” tour to China.
The games -- which paved the way for the legendary meeting between President Nixon and Chairman Mao -- helped open the doors between the two countries after decades of diplomatic isolation.
Cowan was posthumously inducted into the California Table Tennis Hall of Fame in 2014, college officials said.
The National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA) championship tournament will be held in North Carolina April 12 to 14.
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