Hoover Defends Alaska Hardbat Title

Alan Hoover of Fairbanks successfully defended his Open Singles Hardbat title at last weekend’s 2nd Annual Jerry Smith Alaska Hardbat Championships table tennis tournament held at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Patty Center.

Hoover cruised to the title, winning every game in his quest to remain the state champion.

In round robin play, Hoover went 3-0 with match wins over Eric Carvalho, Chirk Chu, and Craig Partyka.

In the playoff rounds, he continued to dominate, with a 21-17, 21-12 victory over Eagle River’s Dave DeMay, followed with a solid win in the final over second place finisher Chris Silks, 21-18, 21-13.

Asked what it meant to win his 2nd Hardbat Championship in as many years, Hoover replied, “This one means more to me than last year’s win. I didn’t expect to win last year; it just worked out that way. But this year I trained for it, I worked hard for it, I wanted it.”

Third Place in Open Single division went to Diann Darnall with a win over Dave DeMay.

In the B Division, 1st Place honors went to Doron Partyka who defeated Hongkai Zhang 21-16, 21-17 in the semi-finals, and in a tough final came back to defeat Tom DeLong, 15-21, 22-20, 21-13. Hongkai Zhang captured third place with a win over Chirk Chu.

The Recreational Singles Event was added this year to encourage the occasional basement/garage players to come out and vie for the honor of being named community champ. Jeff Hutson claimed that honor, taking first place in one of the tightest matches of the tournament. With the lead changing hands every minute in the first two games, Hutson edged out John Smith, 21-19, 19-21, 21-13 for the victory. To reach the finals, Hutson went undefeated in the round robin, winning three straight matches from Smith, Deanna Brandon and Eric Partyka, followed by a semi-final win over Scott Brandon. Robert Miller defeated Scott Brandon, 21-15, 21-12 to take third place.

Book-ending the tournament were the doubles events with Open Doubles starting things off on Friday evening. The team of Alan Hoover and Diann Darnall swept three straight games in a best of five games in the final match from contenders Dave DeMay and Chris Silks, 21-11, 21-14, 21-9. DeMay/Silks finished second with the team of Chirk Chu and Hongkai Zhang taking third.

Closing out the tournament on Saturday evening was the Limited Doubles event.

Tom DeLong and Rick Robertson had the comeback story of the tournament. After losing 2-0 to Diann Darnall and Carol Johnson in the preliminaries, underdogs DeLong/Robertson defeated the favored and powerful penholder team of Chirk Chu and Hongkai Zhang, 19-21, 21-17, 21-16 in the semi-finals to set up the rematch with Darnall/Johnson in the finals. With several long rallies and three close games DeLong/Robertson prevailed over last year’s champs Darnall/Johnson 21-18, 19-21, 21-15.

Chu and Zhang bested the team of Doron and Craig Partyka , 13-21, 21-14, 21-15 to grab the third place medals. For more information on local Table Tennis checkout www.fitt-club.net/.