2023 US National Team Set After Trials on the Bay Shores of Northern California
by Mark Thompson
Four Men and Three Women Earn a Gateway to Gold After Three Exciting Days of Table Tennis Action at the 888 Table Tennis Center in Burlingame
(Burlingame, CA – April 10, 2023) – Crooner Tony Bennett may have left his heart in San Francisco but four men and three women didn’t leave this historic city without claiming the opportunity to represent the United States in international table tennis competition.
On this Easter Sunday and at this beautiful facility, the 888 Table Tennis Center in Burlingame, California, four men – Nandan Naresh, Jishan Liang, Sid Naresh, and Darryl Tsao – earned a spot to play for the US in the Pan American Championships in September; and the top three (the Naresh brothers and Liu) will represent the US at the Pan American Games in October.
For the women, the top three – Amy Wang, Rachel Sung, and Sally Moyland – will represent the US at the Pan Am Championships and the top two – Wang and Sung – will play for the United States at the Pan Am Games. The Number One US Woman, Lily Zhang, who did not compete at these Trials, has already secured her spot on the US Team for the Pan Am Games and Championships.
On the men’s side, Sunday’s final day of action featured an incredible show of skill throughout the day from all eight remaining competitors – each of whom has earned a spot on the US National Team. In short, the top four did not earn their slots easily. The player who ended up the top of the list, Nandan Naresh, still had to survive seven game roller coaster rides against Dan Liu and Mishel Levinski – and was beaten in six games by Jishan Liang – on his way to a 6-1 record in the final round. The last match win by Liang over Nandan Naresh served to preserve Liang’s second place finish in the event with a 5-2 record in the final round.
Slots three and four for the men were a bit more complicated. The third position would go to the winner of the seventh match of the stage for Sid Naresh and Dan Liu. That match proved to be a genuine barn burner with Sid Naresh coming from behind in Game Six to win 13-11 and get to Game Seven where he closed out Liu. A seventh match win by Darryl Tsao over Kai Zhang gave Tsao the 4-3 record in the final round he needed to claim the fourth and final slot for the Pan Am Championships. Also making the 2023 Men’s National Team are (five through eight in order): Daniel Tran, Dan Liu, Kai Zhang, and Mishel Levinski.
In the women’s action, the two top players in the final Group of Eight – Amy Wang and Rachel Sung – were essentially perfect all day, separating themselves from the fray with 6-0 records until they faced one another in their final match of the day, which was won handily by Wang (4-0). For the critical third spot, it came down to the seventh match of the day, as well – where Sally Moyland took extra points (14-12) in Game Five to claim a 4-1 decision over Sarah Jalli and finish number three for the women. The final slot available for the Women’s National Team came down to the last match of the trials between Angie Tan and Joanna Sung – each seeking to join her sister on the team. That victory – and the final slot – fell to Tan. For the women, also making the US National Team are (four through seven in order): Sarah Jalli, Emily Tan, Tiffany Ke, and Angie Tan.
USATT wants to express our sincere thanks and best wishes to all of the competitors and officials – and particularly referee Bill Engelbreth and his excellent crew of umpires – in this event. And USATT cannot say enough about the facility and staff at 888 Table Tennis Center. Bruce Liu and his crew at this exceptional table tennis club showed an exceptional commitment to quality and truly went out of their way to make all of the participants and patrons feel welcome on this Easter weekend.