Balls were flying in the Shepherd Union on Friday as students, staff and faculty participated in the third Weber State University Ping Pong Tournament.
The tournament was sponsored by the Office of Sponsored Projects, Department of Engineering Technology and the College of Engineering, Applied Science & Technology.
The tournament was first held last spring by Fred Chiou, assistant professor and program coordinator in the Department of Engineering Technology, and James Taylor, director of sponsored projects, based on their shared interest in ping pong.
Chiou said he liked the idea of creating the opportunity to have students network with their faculty and staff.
“I like ping pong, so I like promoting the sport,” Chiou said.
The first tournament last March was such a success that both Taylor and Chiou decided to continue the it again this year.
There was a mix of students, faculty members and staff playing against one another in the day-long competition. Two tables were set up in the union to hold matches throughout the day.
The competition was informal, with people able to come and go as they pleased. Everyone was encouraged to participate regardless of their skill level. Those who did not want to play were welcome to watch the tournament or judge a match.
There were 28 men’s singles, eight women’s singles and eight total teams that competed for first, second and third place prizes ranging from $25 – $100.
At the end of a competitive day, Ziyi Cheng took first place in the women’s singles division. Yuxin Wei took the gold in the men’s singles division and Shuqi Hu, Yuxin Wei and Ziyi Cheng won first in the team’s division, representing the Engineering Technology Department.
Cheng, a junior at Weber State, defended her championship title from the last tournament. Cheng said that this tournament is a good way for her to compete while meeting new people.
“It’s been a good day,” Cheng said, after winning her first match.
Tom Anderson, a former WSU student, said he heard about the event through reading The Signpost.
“(The event) has been the bomb dot com,” Anderson said.
Jeffrey Stuart, director of programs and military outreach at Continuing Education at Weber State, also participated in the tournament, and said that it is a fun way to get him out of the office and come to other parts of campus.
“It’s a fun game,” Stuart said. “You can play it regardless of your age.”
According to Taylor, the success of this semester’s tournament has built upon past tournaments.
“It brings people together,” Taylor said.
Chiou welcomes friendly competition with the goal of promoting Weber State’s image of interconnectedness.
Chiou and Taylor plan on hosting the fourth Ping Pong Tournament this October, and they encourage participation from all WSU students, friends, staff and faculty, regardless of their history with ping pong.
“It’s a game you can play year-round,” Chiou said.
Chiou also said that he is willing to coach anyone who wants to practice before the next tournament.
Students who want to brush up on their ping pong skills before the next tournament can do so at the ping pong tables located in the Engineering Technology Department.