2004 Alabama Closed

(story, results and notes)

Adam Brown finds the winner's circle again

By Michael Wetzel

ANNISTON - The guards at the gate of the Anniston Army Depot carefully inspected each vehicle entering the military base, the site of the 2004 Alabama State Championships, the morning of May 1. They were searching for weapons, explosives and drugs. Apparently, they failed to closely check inside Adam Brown's shoulder bag. If they did, they would have found a lethal weapon - his table tennis racket.

A short time later, Brown used that paddle as if it was a loaded gun.  The
poker-faced righty outdueled every opponent in his way to win the state singles championship. It was his second visit to the state pinnacle.  His
first came in 1999 when he won it as an 18-year-old, the youngest
Alabama player ever to win the title.

"I knew David (Landry, 17) was gunning to be the youngest winner. But winning it myself was one way to ensure that record stands for at least another year," the 23-year-old Auburn graduate said. "I was hitting it pretty good today. He seemed nervous and missed some shots he usually hits."

Punching his backhand and looping his forehand, Brown rarely misfired. He
met the top-seeded Landry in the finals. But it was no contest. Brown attacked first and kept the youngster in the crosshairs all match. It was Brown winning 5, 8, 8, 8.

In the semis, Brown whipped first-time semifinalist Tommie Dailey 3-0, while
Landry was overcoming an 0-2 deficit to nip perennial semifinalist Terry Hamilton 3-2. Brown won $120, Landry $60, and Hamilton and Dailey $30 each.

With the state championships outside of Huntsville for only the second time
in 20 years, the new location didn't change one trend. Ernesto Kawamoto won
his record seventh championship doubles title. Kawamoto and Landry breezed
into the finals before nearly being derailed by Brown and his dad, Homer.
After trailing 2-1 in games, Kawamoto and Landry, both of Huntsville , came
back to win 4-2. It marked the first time Kawamoto won back-to-back state
titles with the same partner.

With a well-lit, air-conditioned gym full of 10 new Butterfly and Stiga tables, the Anniston Army Depot went the extra mile to welcome the 54 players. All players received free shirts, pizza, fruit and soft drinks. At the opening ceremonies, the crowd was treated to a superb acappella of the National Anthem by Thelma McCollough of the Anniston Army Depot.
"I believe table tennis is growing by leaps and bounds in this area," said Jim Webb, director for Community and Family Activities at the Depot. "Anniston Army Depot was truly privileged to host such a prestigious event. We hope we are included in future tournaments."
Tournament committee: Michael Wetzel, director; Carol Mitrisin, Jim Webb,
Joe Gormly, Mike Garris, Charles Israel , Darrell Harden, Donny Chumley, Chip
Patton, Eddie Landry and Bob Bowlander.


Championship singles: Adam Brown df. David Landry 4-0; Semis: Brown df . Tommie Dailey 3-0; Landry df . Terry Hamilton 3-2.

Championship doubles: Ernesto Kawamoto/David Landry df . Adam Brown/Homer
Brown 4-2; Semis: Kawamoto/Landry df . Chip Patton/Michael Wetzel; Brown/Brown df . Warren McNeil/Chuck Outlaw.

Class A singles: Johnny Billy df . Warren McNeil 4-1; Semis: Billy df . Patrick Sullivan; McNeil df . Kui Zhang.

Class B: Ravi Chhabra df . Donny Finley 4-0; Semis: Chhabra df . Bailey McKay;
Finley df. Danny Crowson.

Class C: Charles Israel df . Adam Hammonds 3-0; Semis: Israel df . Chris King;
A. Hammonds df. Hunter Hammonds.

Class A doubles: Charles Israel/Mike Garris df . Ravi Chhabra/Narayana Sthanam 3-0. Semis: Israel/Garris df . Keith Peterman/Dr. Tim Stremmel; Chhabra/Sthanam df . Hunter Hammonds/Adam Hammonds.

Elite singles: Ernesto Kawamoto df . Tommie Dailey 3-0; third place, Warren
McNeil; fourth, Cristian Draghici.

Seniors: Bill Mobley df . Chip Patton 3-1; Semis: Mobley df . Warren McNeil
3-2; Patton df . Cristian Draghici 3-2.

Juniors: David Landry df . Adam Hammonds 3-0; third-fourth: Rahul Goli, Hunter Hammonds.

Women: Tammy Landry df . Elisha Harrison 3-0.

Sponsors: Anniston Army Depot, Bumpernets, Dr. Tim Stremmel with the Anniston Foot Care Clinic, China Luck, AFGE Local No. 1954 and Civilian Welfare Fund. (No endorsement implied by the U.S. Army or the Anniston Army Depot.)


-The 54 tournament players was one short of the state record 55 set in 2003.

-Michael Wetzel competed in his record 25th consecutive state championships.
Tommie Dailey competed in his 19th consecutive.

-Ernesto Kawamoto has played doubles in seven state championships, winning
first place each time. His partners have been Don Gaither 1995, 1997; Adam
Brown 2000; Leo Kawamoto 2001; Michael Wetzel 2002; David Landry 2003, 2004.
Warren McNeil owns five doubles titles with three different partners (Keith
LaFrance, Rafael Zambrano and Mark Miller).

-Speaking of records, David Landry won his record fourth juniors title in five years.

-In the only two Alabama championships played outside of Huntsville in the past 20 years, Adam Brown has won the singles title and Adam and his dad Homer finished second in doubles. The years - 1999 and 2004.

-The past two state champions missed this year's tournament. 2003 champion
Dr. Jiang Gu is in China working on the SARS epidemic. Meanwhile, 2002 champion and new dad Jason Denton was at home with his 3-day-old daughter
Kaydia Loraine.