Final results of the 2002 Alabama Closed Table Tennis Championships

2002 Alabama Closed
April 13, 2002

By Michael Wetzel

HUNTSVILLE -- Top-seeded Jason Denton of Trinity overcame an early-morning loss to capture his first state championship. After a 5-game loss to Mike Ho of Mobile, Denton got on target with his backhand-led arsenal and breezed to the title. He won $100 defeating 1999 champion Adam Brown of Birmingham in the finals 5, 8, 11, 8. After losing that first match, Denton only lost one game the rest of the way when 3-time state champion Ralph Kissel of Huntsville managed to snare a game in the semis. It was the first time since 1989 a player dropped a match in round-robin play and came back to win the title.
Denton defeated Johnny Billy of Satsuma at 6, 8, 8 in the quarterfinals before eliminating Kissel at 8, 7, -9, 9 in the semis.
Drama was unfolding in Brown's half of the bracket. The steady hitting 15-year-old David Landry of Huntsville eliminated 2-time defending champion and his teacher Ernesto Kawamoto of Huntsville 6, -7, 6, -8, 9 in the quarterfinals. Brown, who defeated last year's finalist Jiang Gu of Mobile 6, -8, 8, 8 in the quarters, had the young upstart next. Brown outlasted Landry at 17, 6, -9, -9, 4 to advance to his second finals. Brown received $50 for his second place finish. Kissel and Landry each won $25.
In championship doubles play, Kawamoto set a state record by winning his fifth championship with four different partners along the way. Riding shotgun with Kawamoto this year was Michael Wetzel of Moulton. The winning team, the tournament's third seed, defeated the team of Brown and women's champion Jane Ng of Birmingham in a 7-game finals 9, 5, -7, -8, 5, -8, 6. Kawamoto/Wetzel edged David Wilder of Huntsville and Warren McNeil of Dothan, -6, -8, 5, 7, 10 in the semis. In the other semis, Brown/Ng got past Huntsville Jishnu Saha and Landry in five games. The 8th-seeded and junior team of Saha/Landry ousted top-seed Jiang Gu of Mobile and Dr. Ronald Peters of Brewton in the second round in five games. Kawamoto/Wetzel earned $40 and Brown/Ng got $20.
Terry Hamilton of Birmingham defeated Wilder in the Class A finals 9, 9, 4, 6. Hamilton was a state finalist in 1999.
Having perhaps the finest tournament of his career, Doyle Gray of Trussville went undefeated in six Class B matches. His finals victory over Jim Norris of Hartselle -12, 5, 7, 7, -14, 6 earned him $30. Norris meanwhile pocketed $20.
The Huntsville team of Peter Jones and Anthony Dang defeated Gray and Colen Ellis of Gadsden for the Class A doubles championship. It was Gray's only loss of the day.
Munford's Jacky Parrett defeated Dick Cloyd of Huntsville -5, 8, -9, 6, 8, 8 to win Class C.
Gu defeated Tommie Dailey Sr. of Birmingham to win the seniors.
Landry defeated Saha and his older sister Alisha Landry in the juniors competition.
Ng defeated Alisha Landry of Huntsville for the women's championship.
Forty-three players competed in the annual tournament.
Tournament sponsors were Bumpernets of Birmingham,, The Trophy Place of Trinity and Robbins Table Tennis Specialties. Tournament hosts were North Alabama Table Tennis Club and Huntsville Department of Recreation and Landscape Management.
Committee members were: Michael Wetzel director; Fred Mitchell II, Jim Norris, David Wilder, Eddie Landry, Ed Griffin and Dick Cloyd.

Tournament results:

Championship singles: Jason Denton, first; Adam Brown, second; Ralph Kissel and David Landry semifinalists.

Championship doubles: Ernesto Kawamoto and Michael Wetzel first; Adam Brown and Jane Ng second; David Wilder/Warren McNeil and David Landry/Jishnu Saha semifinalists.

Class A: Terry Hamilton first; David Wilder, second; Justin Davis and Tommie Dailey Sr., semifinalists.

Class B: Doyle Gray, first; Jim Norris, second; Donny Finley and Ed Griffin, semifinalists.

Class C: Jacky Parrett, first; Dick Cloyd, second; Chris Polychroniades and Fred Mitchell, semifinalists.

Class A doubles: Peter Jones and Anthony Dang, first; Doyle Gray and Colen Ellis, second; Raymond Bell/Jacky Parrett and Ed Griffin and Tom Mann, semifinalists.

Juniors: David Landry, first; Jishnu Saha, second; Alisha Landry, third.

Seniors: Jiang Gu, first; Tommie Dailey Sr., second; Ralph Kissel and Mike Ho, semifinalists.

Women's: Jane Ng, first; Alisha Landry, second.

Tournament notes:

Major upsets during the day: Mike Ho 1703 df. Jason Denton 2056; David Landry 1789 df. Ernesto Kawamoto 2054; Tommie Dailey Sr 1815 df. Ralph Kissel 1922. Ed Watts 1599 df. Johnny Billy 1780; Johnny Billy 1780 df. Terry Hamilton 1886.

Doubles upset: Championship doubles (8th seeded) David Landry 1789 and Jishnu Saha 1184 df. (No. 1 seed) Jiang Gu 1947 and Dr. Ronald Peters 1895 -7, -6, 10, 9, 9.

Michael Wetzel of Moulton competed in a state-record 23rd consecutive state championships. Tommie Dailey Sr. of Birmingham competed in his 17th consecutive state tournament.

At age 15, David Landry became the state's youngest semifinalist. Adam Brown defeated Landry in the semis He lost in the semis to 1999 singles champion Adam Brown in five games 17, 6, -9, -9, 4.
At 61, Kissel becomes the second oldest semifinalist in state history.

This is the 18th consecutive year the North Alabama Table Tennis Club played host to the state championships.* (The 1999 state tournament was in Birmingham, co-hosted by the NATTC and Bumpernets).

WAFF-TV, Channel 48 of Huntsville and the Birmingham News attended the tournament to provide coverage.