Record turnout for YoungLife Ping-Pong tournament
February 17, 2014
On Wednesday nights throughout the month of January, the lower cafeteria of the OHS fills with kids with a passion for Ping-Pong. YoungLife coordinator Chuck Jamison puts on a Ping-Pong tournament every year. It’s open for any high-school student with an itch to play some Ping-Pong.There is an $8 entry fee, which covers the many snacks and drinks that are provided every night of the tournament. There were a whopping 64 participants this year. Jamison said, “It was the best turnout we’ve ever had.”
Each player tries to play each opponent once throughout the four Wednesdays in January. Every game is played to 11 and the score is recorded by Jamison on a very large scoreboard. After the four weeks, Jamison takes his board home and every player receives a points-per-game score, which determines where they go from there. There are three brackets that the players are placed into depending on their average score. Jamison said, “The 16 top averages go into the NCAA tournament. The next 16 go into the NIT tournament. Everyone else goes into the Toilet Bowl.” Winners of each bracket receive a trophy and plaque. The consolation winners of the three brackets receive a framed certificate.
The first four weeks were full of close and intense matches leading up to the bracket play in February. The cafeteria was filled with many kids hungry for some hardware. In the “Toilet Bowl”, freshman Aidan Ebner took home the trophy by defeating senior Andrew Peterson in the finals. Junior Cole Butler overcame adversity by narrowly edging foreign exchange student Claas Fillies in the championship round of the NIT division. Butler and Ebner were both very pleased with their performances.
Seniors Matthew Kern and Garrett Olson both fought their way through the NCAA bracket to make it to the finals. All Ping-Pong tables were removed from the cafeteria but one. The stage was set. It was time to determine the winner of the YoungLife Ping-Pong Tournament. Olson held a slight lead throughout most of the match and increased it as the match went on. Kern gave a valiant effort, but it was not enough. Olson, a runner-up in last year’s tournament, defeated Kern by a rather large margin. The newly crowned champion said, “It feels pretty good winning it all this year. After losing in the finals last year, I wanted to come back and win it all.” The tournament is meant to be a fun time for everyone involved, and that it was.