On-lookers watching as a match takes place. (Ariana Berkemeier / The Signpost)
Onlookers watch as a ping pong match takes place. (Ariana Berkemeier / The Signpost)
Participators check the schedule to see what comes next. (Ariana Berkemeier / The Signpost)
Participants in the ping pong tournament check the schedule to see what comes next. Weber State University held a ping pong tournament Thursday morning. (Ariana Berkemeier / The Signpost)

Weber State University students, faculty and staff gathered in the Shepherd Union on March 5 for a ping pong tournament. The event was put on by the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP), the Technology Commercialization Office (TCO) and the College of Engineering, Applied Science and Technology (EAST).

Those participating in the event had the opportunity to compete in one of three categories: men’s singles, women’s singles or as a team. The tournament kicked off in the morning with a breakfast for those participating and lasted well through the afternoon, during which the final matches took place.

James Taylor, the director of the OSP and TCO, alongside Fred Chiou, an assistant professor in the engineering technology program, organized the event to allow ping pong enthusiasts to come out and play. “It also gives our department a chance to get out there and meet other people around campus,” Taylor said.

Tables were set up for teams and singles competitions with the matches being officiated by Chiou. Competitors had scheduled times to compete and could check the board periodically to see who they were up against and what the current standings were.

“I filled in for a team that was short a member this morning and it was a lot of fun,” said Shuqi Hu, an engineering technology student at WSU. “My team won’t play until later in the day, and we are very excited to compete.”

With this being the first event, Taylor and Chiou were both happy about the high turnout.

There was a total of 12 teams, 28 men single’s competitors and seven women’s singles competitors. “We had a lot of students interested in participating,” Chiou said. “And it’s a great thing to do during the winter because we can hold this event indoors.” Prizes were also part of the tournament and were awarded after the final matches.

First-place winners received a $50 gift card, second-place winners received $25 gift cards and those coming in third received $10 gift cards. The gift cards were provided by the sponsors of the event and were good for Wal-Mart and Smith’s shopping centers. Food and snacks were also provided throughout the day for those participating and those just watching.

Leah Regley, a WSU freshman, said she enjoyed watching the competition. “I’m pretty bad at ping pong but it has been a lot of fun to watch the teams compete today,” Regley said. “It’s always fun to see the events going on in the Union.”

However, students weren’t the only ones getting involved in the tournament. Melina Alexander, an associate professor in the College of Education, got involved in the tournament. “I stunk today but it was definitely a lot of fun,” Alexander said. “I think I might have even got three whole points.”

Chiou and Taylor hope to hold the next ping pong tournament in the fall of 2015.

“The tournament has been a success,” Taylor said. “We are hoping to host this event a couple times a year.”

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