2001 Timeline for NATTC
January 6: Leo Kawamoto, Ernesto Kawamoto and Michael Wetzel presented an exhibition at the opening of the Fern Bell Community Center. Wetzel gave a short talk to about 200 people attending. Mayor Loretta Spencer was given an autographed tt ball signed by Ernesto and Leo.
Febuary 9: Ernesto Kawamoto won second place in the ACUI Regionals at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla. to become the first state player to advance to the ACUI Nationals in state history. Leo Kawamoto and Michael Wetzel of the NATTC and Adam Brown of Auburn University also attended the ACUI Regionals.
March: Club member Phil Thompson, 40, suffered a fatal heart attack on March 8. Dean and Peggy were married on March 10. Two hours after the wedding, Phil was buried in his hometown of Stevenson. Seventeen table tennis players from three states attended the funeral. Phil had been a club member since 1991.
The club was featured in the March 16 edition of the Huntsville Times. Excellent full page story "Bringing it to the table" by Steve Doyle and colorful photos by Patricia Miklik.
At the end of March, Ernesto competed at ACUI Nationals at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He finished tied for 5th. His roommate at nationals was ACUI winner and Canadian Olympian Kurt Lui.
April: Club hosted state championships at Brahan Springs. Winners were Ernesto Kawamoto and his brother Leo in singles and doubles. It marked the first time in state history a brother combination won the doubles honors. Ralph Kissel won seniors.
May: NATTC received National Club of the Month Honors by the USA Table Tennis Magazine on page 23. The featured included two photos by Juan Acosta and article by Chip Patton, Walt Chenault and Michael Wetzel
On May 12 and 13, Ernesto and Michael competed in the Music City Open in Nashville. Ernesto won second place in open consolation losing to John Allen of Louisville, Ky. Wetzel also served as tournament referee.
June 7: 1989 state champion Friedhelm Schope visited the club from his home in Zurich, Switzerland. The club featured a table of champions with 4 past state champions and doubles winner Leo Kawamoto. Friedhelm won the table. Leo was second. On June 12, Friedhelm, a pilot, and club members Ralph Kissel and Michael Wetzel flew to Ralph's mountain home in Seven Devils Mountain, N.C. in the Smokies and enjoyed lunch with Ralph's wife Helen.
July: David Landry won a bronze medal in the U-22 doubles at the USA Junior Olympics in Virginia.
July/August issue of USA Table Tennis magazine columnist Tim Titrud featured the www.nattc.com in his column 'Net Serve'; on page 16. He wrote: "I give the NATTC web site 5 out of 5 stars as a great marketing tool that also keeps its membership well informed about its activities."
In early July, Mal McGehee and Fred Mitchell competed in the National Senior Olympics in Baton Rouge, La. McGehee won a bronze medal for his age group.
Ernesto, Leo and David Landry competed in the U.S. Open in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. July 3-8.
August 18: 10th annual Decatur Open featured 72 players from 8 states. Two-time Olympian and 5-time national champion Sean O'Neill of Virginia became the third Olympian to win the Decatur Open. He was hosted his final night by Tammy and Eddie Landry. Despite some stellar play from club members Ed Griffin was the only member to win a trophy. The tournament featured 13 sponsors. The tournament was directed by Walt Chenault and Michael Wetzel. Helping were Jim and Glenda Norris, Fred Mitchell and Dick Cloyd.
Ernesto Kawamoto, Fred Mitchell and Michael Wetzel conducted a table tennis club at Brahan Spring at the end of August.
In mid-September, the club donated $125 to the American Red Cross following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Jason Denton visits St. Louis Open and finishes second in the U2200 division to get his rating above 2000. It marked the first time the club has had 3 players at the same time with a rating above 2000. The following month, Jason was winning again at the Arkansas Open. His second place finish put his rating at 2061, the highest in the state.
On Sept. 22, table tennis became part of Promise Cup Corporate Olympics in Decatur. Michael Wetzel defeated club member Errol Thomas in the finals. Each business paid $1,000 to compete in 6 sports. Wetzel was sponsored by the Decatur Daily and Thomas by Hexcel, their respective employers.
In late September, Mal McGehee and Fred Mitchell won the state Masters Games at Florence for their respective age divisions.
In November David Landry competed in the Atlanta Fall Open and pushed his rating to 1813. Placing him among the nation's top 20 for his age group.
On Dec. 4, Mo and Martha Brooks hosted the club's third-ever Christmas party their Huntsville home. Forty-four people attended. The club gave $25 door prizes to 5 lucky winners -- Dean Thomas, Walt Chenault, Yan Zhang, Aleisha Landry and Brad Eaton -- as well as the generous hosts.
The club lost its second club member of the year when 38-year-old Dr. Saji Joseph of Guntersville was killed in a one-car accident in his hometown on Dec. 10. Eleven people from the club attended his wake on Dec. 12. He was buried in Cochin, India, on Dec. 17. Saji was a member of club since November 2000.