The Westminster Pingpong Club is made up of students from many different majors with a variety of skill levels who started playing as a way to meet new people on campus.
The club is unlike most at Westminster because its members compete in tournaments against other collegiate pingpong teams. The club’s most recent outing was to a sectional tournament hosted by the University of Utah, where some of the teams included the University of Utah, BYU and Utah State. These teams compete in the Rocky Mountain West Division with the goal of making it to nationals.
“[Other teams] are super good, and some of them are actually nationally ranked,” said Peter Seppi, junior economic pre-law and finance major. “After this [sectional tournament], you move onto a regional tournament, and if you win that you go to the national tournament. We take it more recreationally than them.”
To some, pingpong is more than just a game to play for fun. Some schools’ teams are more than clubs and are actually considered collegiate sport teams.
“Some of [the other school’s players] have been playing since they were two,” said Chase Maeser, junior environmental science and geology major.
Maeser and Seppi started playing pingpong at Westminster as a way to get involved on campus and meet new people.
“I thought I was really good, so I tried to play the dean, and then I saw all these kids playing, so I thought maybe I should start playing,” Maeser said.
These other students also had an impact on Seppi, junior economic pre-law and finance major.
“We all thought we were good until we got here and played against Val, and the older kids and got smoked,” Seppi said. “We all played sports in high school, and now that we no longer play these games, [pingpong] fills that void.”
Valentine Shcherbakov, or “Val” as members of the club like to call him, is the faculty adviser for the pingpong team.
“I have been playing for a long time,” Shcherbakov said. “You have to like it. You have to enjoy it. You have to spend some time to get better, like any other sport.”
All students are invited to join the club, no matter their skill levels.Those interested can visit the Dolores Dore Eccles Health, Wellness and Athletic Center to get in on the action.
“We [members of the club] met while living in the dorms as freshmen,” said Maeser, junior environmental science and geology major. “We all played pingpong, so it made us better friends, or worse because we are so competitive.”