Paddles up

Sam Mogensen, staff writer

With 130 participants, nine ping-pong tables, three separate practice times, and a shot at the state title last year, the ping-pong team has come a long way since the program started with 30 students in 2007.

Because there are so many students participating in ping-pong, the program was forced to split the team into three different levels. The lower levels are more focused on having fun and learning the game, while the highest level is focused on being competitive in a true match setting.

With this much variety, the ping-pong team can be a great experience for students at any age or skill level. “I love freshman pong because it’s easy to learn, and it’s a fun sport for the winter,” said freshman Emma Zeman.

Practices are uptempo and instructive, as head coach Casey Hanson weaves through the nine ping-pong tables set up in the commons and teaches participants the best way to serve and return. “Hanson peruses through the players and makes sure we have good technique,” said junior Keegan Swenson, a two year ping-pong veteran.

Expectations are high for this popular program. With tons of talent in the competitive varsity team, Mr. Hanson expects his star players like seniors Mike Mullin and Andrew Poley and junior Dan Lundell to perform well this year. “Mike Mullin puts in a lot of time outside of school; he actually went to a professional training session in California over the summer and we really expect him to step up this year,” said Mr. Hanson.

Last year the varsity team progressed to the state tournament and won in the consolation bracket which is equivalent to third place. This year, the team is determined to bring home the state championship. “I’m really looking forward to helping the team bring home the championship rings for BSM Pong,” said Lundell.