By Justin Gottschalk
LIBERTY March 18, 2005 The final matches of the annual Ron Francisco Memorial Table Tennis and Badminton Tournament were held Monday afternoon in the Liberty High School gymnasium.
Senior Jay Samant won the overall table tennis championship, beating Scott Hamlin 23-21, 24-26, 21-15 in a best-of-three games match. Samant, who has been nationally ranked in table tennis and undefeated the past five years, also made it to the finals of the badminton tournament. In that event, Samant and his partner Brad Porter lost to the team of Chris Paddock and Dan Belgard.
After his table tennis victory, Samant humbly emphasized the element of friendly competition.
My competitor is a good friend of mine, he said. Its usually good, close, competitive matches. It was fun playing him again, and I think the crowd really liked it.
Paddock struck a similarly sporting tone in discussing his badminton victory.
Good game, he said. Both teams played hard. After playing for the last few weeks, it really showed up how each player improved since the beginning.
Other winners in the Ron Francisco Memorial Tournament were as follows:
Girls table tennis finals: Brittany Melchick beat Brittany Strysko.
Eighth grade table tennis finals: Evan Kirsch beat Chris Lake.
Eighth grade badminton finals: Evan Kirsch and Franklin Carcamo beat Sam Heinle and Roothland Medina.
Liberty Central School Physical Education instructor Maggie Novello organized the tournament.
This unit is a favorite amongst the kids here, she said. We have the highest success rates; our failure rates are extremely low. If I had one failure for every two classes during this unit, I would say that I had a lot.
We do this tournament in memory of Ron Francisco, a phys. ed teacher here, Novello continued. He demonstrated good sportsmanship and was excellent at the games. We love to play this to honor him.