By Colin Shields / Online Editor

Pingpong is taking Hutchinson Community College by storm. With 26 members participating in the last tournament, it is the largest club at HutchCC.

Andrew Prieb, a Manhattan sophomore and the vice president of the Ping Pong Club, joined in the 2021 fall semester and has seen the club more than double in size in that time.

Photo courtesy Darby Roper

“Our first tournament, we barely had 10 people join, now we’re to the point where we had to cut off registration at 26 just to ensure we could get all our games in to keep the tournament running smoothly,” Prieb said.

Tournaments have a loose schedule, with matches taking place in the Parker Student Union basement and players being given a few days to complete their match.

“The bracket will be put out and players will be told when to have their games done by,” Prieb said. “The two players will get in touch to schedule a date and time that works best for them and they’ll get it in by the deadline before moving on to the next round of matches.”

Ping Pong Club, like the other clubs on campus, offers a chance to meet new students and make new friends.

“It’s special to me, it’s the fastest way I’ve been able to build friendships at this school,” Prieb said. “You’re forced to get to know people, you get matched up with a random person and you have to reach out to them to set a time to play.” Prieb said.

One of the top players on campus is one of the Blue Dragon football team’s own Trevor Whiteman. “Hutchinson Community College’s punter, Trevor Whiteman, won the last tournament where he defeated me in the finals,” Prieb said.

Whiteman, who has been a member since last year, was introduced to the Ping Pong Club in the 2021 fall semester as well, and has played in every tournament since.

“I had some friends in the honors program who got me to join and it’s been a lot of fun,” Whiteman said. The club has also allowed for Whiteman to improve his game, leading him to find success and finish at the top of the bracket on regular occasions winning four tournaments in the last three semesters.

In addition to playing for fun, some rivalries can develop as well, Whiteman and Prieb have traded matches dating back to last year.

“I’ve beaten Andrew so many times, my favorite time would be defeating him in the finals to win a tournament,” Whiteman said. “It has kind of led to us having a mini rivalry over the last semester or so.” Prieb however, has found some success recently, including a win over the former champion in the second round of their current tournament.

“He has definitely had the upper hand on me in the past,” Prieb said. “I’m a new man this year though. I just defeated him today and there will be many more to come.”

You can find more information about the Ping Pong club by scanning the QR codes on flyers posted throughout the campus news boards. Additionally, you can contact Prieb on Instagram or Snapchat @ andrew.herschel.

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