Ping Pong Across America


Lindsey Cohen, Editor-in-Chief

It’s been a great year for Brandon Ngai aka The Beast from the Far East. After the buzz from his Senior Variety Show act, GangNgai Style, simmered down, he wowed Wantagh again when he won the Ping Pong across America Tournament organized by the Leadership Skills Club, March 1.

The Leadership Skills Club, run by senior track nerds, Pat Lavin, Vinny Tesoriero, Paul Hilton, John Shea and sophomore Nicole Charkowick, had this idea in the works for many months. They raised $250 and are putting it towards a new flag for graduation.

“The out pouring of support that the Leadership Skills Club received was incredible,” said President Pat Lavin. “The tournament was very exciting and competitive and we earned more than enough money to buy a new flag. My board members and I decided to raise money for a new flag because we felt that the one used at graduation did not properly represent our country. It was tattered so as leaders, we took the initiative to solve the problem.”

The students’ abilities (especially the seniors who spend countless periods in the study hall room playing) left the crowd speechless. On the first day of the tournament, 100 students crammed into room 151 watching the semis. The best match of the tournament was Christian Falcaro’s semifinal loss to Ngai, 21-19. Eric Regenbogen reached the student final with Ngai but Ngai won handily.

Freshman Jeff Starr had a good showing in the tournament. False rumors circulated about him taking ping pong lessons but his natural born skills paid off as he made it the farthest out of any underclassmen in the tournament until he lost to Ngai. You can look for him to be a major contender in the next few years.

In the teacher tournament, Bogatz crushed the competition as anticipated. Kravitz was beating Cronin 20-14 in the teacher semi when Cronin used his superior Math skills and reeled off 8 points to win 22-20. In the teacher’s final was Bogatz defeated Cronin. “I wouldn’t have beaten Bogatz anyway,” said a dejected Kravitz. Bogatz has dominated this tournament for its 20 years. But Ngai ended Bogatz’ reign of dominance by winning in the best of three, 11-1, 10-12 and 11-5.