GREENSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) – Michael Whitmeyer and Sabrina Tran were not in front of a camera announcing their college of choice on National Signing Day, but the duo have taken their respective games to Greensboro and are competing at one of the highest levels.
The two students from Enloe High School in Raleigh are vying for a spot on the United States Olympic team at the Table Tennis Olympic Trials, which runs from Thursday through Saturday.
Each has been playing the game for seven years. Whitmeyer, 18, learned how to play table tennis like most do, in the basement with his family. When he took a whipping in a game against a friend, he vowed he would improve.
“I’m pretty competitive so I like to win,” Whitmeyer said. ‘After I got my butt kicked I decided I didn’t want it to happen again.”
Tran is a junior in high school and, with the busy schedule that comes with keeping up with her studies, is pragmatic about her chances in Greensboro.
“I feel like the Olympics or World Championships, that’s not my goal,” Tran said. “It is just to enjoy the sport.”
Despite understanding how difficult it is to win a spot on the Olympic team, Tran does allow herself to dream from time-to-time.
The voice she hears always makes her smile.
“I have daydreamed ‘Wow, she is making so many rallies. She is upsetting so many people,”’ Tran said. “But you realize the people that are trying out for the Olympics are training every day and have their lives devoted to the sport.”
To reach the point of competing for the Olympics is beyond the wildest expectations for both Tran and Whitmeyer.
They plan on embracing the opportunity, enjoying the experience and taking pride in the support they have received from their respective family and friends.
Once the trials are over, regardless of the outcome, they both plan on continuing in the sport they love for many years to come.
“It is a lot of fun for me,” Whitmeyer said. “I just really love the sport. I want to keep playing it, maybe become a coach in the future. That’s why I keep playing it and will keep playing it as I get older.”