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Photos: Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS
Players from M.S. 216 and their coach, Paul Vigoda, stand with their championship trophy.

The newly crowned championship table tennis team at M.S. 216 in Fresh Meadows taught a local lawmaker some tricks in a celebratory match-up last week.

The M.S. 216 girls table tennis team earned the coveted title at the 2017 New York City Middle School Table Tennis League (NYCMSTTL) championship on March 4. The team played a friendly post-victory match against Councilman Rory Lancman and the school’s principal, Reginald Landeau Jr., on March 24.

During the championship, the team of seventh- and eighth-graders went up against 15 other teams from middle schools throughout the five boroughs, according to Coach Paul Vigoda. The team practiced three times a week since last October in preparation.

“Though the season is over, we continue to practice,” Vigoda said. “A lot of [the players] are coming back next year; and the ones that are graduating want to play in high school.”

Players Sydney Ho, Samantha Guan, Gabriella Khaldarov, Miryum Katanova, Sofia Shamuilova, Evelina Abramov and Flora Lin edged out a team from Manhattan in the exciting final round of the championship.

“It was a really fun experience; nerve-wracking at the same time,” Khaldarov said. “And it was also a team-building experience, because we had to give each other encouragement … And it really helped us bond. We cheered each other on and it was just a whole group effort.”

Vigoda said that table tennis is a growing sport, both here in Queens and citywide.

“Every year I get more and more kids to try out, and the competition gets better and better,” Vigoda said. “It’s fun to see [the students’] dedication and commitment and see them get better every week.”

After the friendly match, Lancman presented each member of the team with a certificate to commemorate their achievement.

“I congratulate the M.S. 216 girls table tennis team and Coach Paul Vigoda on winning the NYC championship earlier this month,” Lancman said. “The team’s success this season is a testament to each student’s hard work and dedication, along with Coach Vigoda’s expert instruction. It is gratifying to see the passion and excitement these students have for table tennis, and it is my hope that more NYC students will get involved in the years ahead.”

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