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Townsend Harris girls table tennis team has made insurmountable gains this season – upholding a tremendous 9:1 win-loss record as well placing fourth in the entire city.
Aside from the countless flying ping pong balls, the team faced several obstacles whilst accomplishing this feat. Many of the senior players were unable to attend practices or certain matches due to college class. Secondly, mandatory FON practices took up a majority of the team’s playing time. Most of all, the winter and mid-winter recesses caused the team some significant strain; missing several weeks worth of practice rusted the abilities of many of the players.
Despite these odds, the team was still able to find success, finishing the season first in their division with a 9-1 record and an appearance in the semi-final playoff match against Benjamin N. Cardozo High School.
One of the team’s greatest moments includes beating Cardozo’s team in the regular season, the previous divisional and city champions. Team captain Stephanie Hau stated, “We had finally reached a moment where we had dominated the best team in the division.” Defeating Cardozo’s team — not once but twice — boosted the confidence of the entire team.
Much of the team’s success can be accredited to the cooperation among the entire team and the coach. The players built great connections with one another while managing to learn different sets of skills, creating what Coach Stonehill called a “deep team.” The team saw new talent this year with the addition of singles players such as sophomore Annie Kim and seniors Winnie Wang and Michelle Liang.
Ping Tseng, another senior, had not expected the team to make it so far into the playoffs. “I think it really helped the players come together as a team and encourage each other to push ourselves beyond our limits” she said.
“Thomas Chu, our new team manager, was really helpful in giving us advice and tips for improving our game,” added junior Naomi Chiu.
A new division roster also varied the school’s competition. Stephanie Hau labeled the whole experience as amazing. “Not only did the team gain the title of divisional champs,” she said, “but also we gained experience and new friendships.”
As for the future, team manager Thomas Chu said that “next year will be a rougher journey” due to the loss of a few critical seniors. Yet the team hopes to grow as much as possible in their offseason in order to remain among the ranks next season.