Table Tennis Team triumphs

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Marina Kazarian, Staff Writer

The Varsity Table Tennis Team went undefeated this season, winning their league as well as becoming champions of the Independent School Table Tennis League (ISTTL) invitational tournament. The team’s record of 10-0, included two difficult wins against Fieldston, and was due to everyone’s individual efforts throughout the winter, Captain Robbie Werdiger (12) said.

Even with an undefeated record, the team had to overcome challenges when playing schools outside of the league, such as The Ramaz School and The Kew Forest School.

Winning the ISTTL championship was one of the team’s many suspenseful wins. Some highlights included the individual wins of Werdiger, Nalla Sagna (9), Leonardo Hess (9), and Julien Harcourt (9). “At first singles, I pulled off a 14-12 win in the fifth set, saving a match point,” Werdiger said.

Sagna and Hess secured the win in the first doubles position, and Harcourt beat an opponent that he had lost to earlier in the season.

The team also placed third, behind Roslyn High School and John L. Miller Great Neck North High School, in the Greater New York Table Tennis Tournament.

The team’s success comes on the heels of a change in their status as a team at the school: this year the team is considered a varsity sport while last year, it was considered a club. The team also now has nine members – one more than the amount they had last year.

“We have young players who play hard every day,” Head Coach Caroline Surhoff said. “Everyone was always ready to compete and able to be put into any situation.”

The team’s strength stretches beyond just the highly skilled individuals: it is a collaborative team effort, Werdiger said.

One of the team’s defining moments was beating Fieldston in the first match of the season, Werdiger said. “As a team, we were happy to start off the season on a high note and beat Fieldston 4-1 with little trouble after losing to them last year in the league final,” he said.

The group ended their season with another hard-earned win. “Our finals against Leman was especially memorable because of how close it was,” Aneesh Bafna (12) said.

The team has improved tremendously through continuous practice drills, Surhoff said.

“Through practices and helping each other, the team improved as players in various skills,” Hess said. Such skills include serving, spinning, returning spin shots, and defending.

“We are always in close proximity during practice, so we get to know each other pretty well,” Hess said. During practice, the players are able to teach each other important things to consider against an opponent, such as spins, ball placement, and speed of shots, he said.

“We were thrilled to cap off an undefeated season and take home the ISTTL trophy,” Werdiger said. The match-ups were “super exciting and suspenseful,” he said.