Students Rally Around Second Annual Ping Pong Tournament


Chanho Lee

Players across all grades were eager to compete in Pan Asian Club’s second annual ping pong tournament on March 15th and 16th.

Elijah Bartholomew, Contributing Writer

The CRLS Pan Asian Club held its 2nd annual Ping Pong tournament this month. With players from all grades competing for a prize of money or airpods, the stakes were high. The prize attracted ping-pong players across the school who were ready to put their skills on display.

 Min-Jae Kuo ’26, a confident competitor, told the Register Forum,  “I’ve played a good number of people from this school and pretty much beaten all of them, so I think I might go in here with a bit of an ego but I’m hoping that won’t affect my gameplay too much.” This confidence was short-lived, as Kuo was knocked out in the first rounds. But still, the tournament went on. 

The tournament attracted returning players from last year who had learned from their shortcomings. Nicolas Valayannopoulos-Akrivou ’23 spent the year perfecting his weaknesses. He told the Register Forum, “I’ve been working on my curveball a lot, you know, last year that’s what got me. I wasn’t able to put the top spin as much as I wanted to, so I’ve been working on it in the off-season, waiting for this tournament.” He compared his training regiment to that of boxing movie legend Rocky Balboa.

“A lot of people come to the Pan Asian Club for community, and ping pong is one of those things.”

The crowd, it seemed, was as competitive as the players. Mabel Lewis ’26 told the Register Forum why she attended the tournament: “I really enjoy ping pong and I’m actually thinking about signing up in the future so I’m kind of scoping it out.” But it was Susan Alexander ’26 who summed up the spirit of the tournament, telling the Register Forum, “It’s events such as these that bring the school together, [it is] something we can resonate with, that actually have us wanting to stay after school.”

Ms. Dongyeon Helen Shin, advisor of the Pan Asian Club, revealed to the Register Forum the reason for the tournament, “A lot of people come to the Pan Asian Club for community, and ping pong is one of those things. [It’s] a way we can all have fun together.”

Alas, in the end there is only one who can win it all and this year it was John Chin ’23, a homeschool student who takes a course at CRLS and plays for the boys varsity soccer team. After his final match, he told the Register Forum, “That [playoff] game with Kidus Desalegn ’23 had me going mentally, cause we were going back and forth, and I was just trying to stay alive. It was real close.” When asked if there was a point he knew he would win, he maintained his humbleness, saying, “The first game was kinda uneasy but since it’s a three-game series, you kinda just have to take every point as if it’s the last point.”

This article also appears in our March 2023 print edition.