Athletic Department Makes a Splash With Water Pong Tournament

Ryan Moleta (left) and Zachary Silver (right) went nearly undefeated in both the tournaments of Water Pong, securing two championship wins and some New Paltz athletic apparel to go with it. (Photo courtesy of Jaime Jimenez)

Skills and determination were tested Nov. 14 in the Hawk Center, as SUNY New Paltz students competed in a duo styled double elimination water pong tournament. 

Hosted by the SUNY New Paltz Wellness Recreation Department, in partnership with IMleagues, the tournament ran from 9  to 11 p.m. with eight teams competing. With four water pong tables set up in the main gym of the Hawk Center, the games consisted of a six cup style of play as well as a bracket setup for each team. 

“From the backyard pong tournament with the additional lawn games we ran earlier this semester, it was our thought that we should just try this indoor water pong tournament and see if we get a bigger turnout than the other one, and right now it is looking about the same,” said Assistant Wellness and Recreation Director Kevin Makarewicz. 

The objective of the game is to throw the ping pong ball into the opponent’s cups of water from your side of the table. The team that makes all of the cups before the other team wins. The rules of this game can be found here

Due to COVID-19, safety is the main priority of the Recreation and Wellness staff; for each water pong table there were Purell hand sanitizer dispensers and paper towels to clean your hands with after each game. 

“We needed to just stay within the New York state guidelines for regulations of operating this tournament and at maximum capacity technically have 50 students,” Makarewicz said. “But we would have capped the teams off for registering at twenty.” As the games tipped off, students of every class year were ready to get the games started, as at the end of the tournament the winner would receive New Paltz apparel. 

“I think water pong is a lot of fun, I think it is a great opportunity to get together for some fun  and have something to do,” said first-year Nicholas Alexiodos. 

“I never really played water pong before, I just saw the game online, and wanted to do it because it allows me to get out of my room for today and have fun,” said first-year Aidan O’Neil. 

Due to the games going faster than expected and the small number of participants, the tournament was expanded to another tournament in the same night with potentially two different teams winning. But the duo of Zachary Silver and Ryan Moleta of the Goat House team had their eye on the ball.

 As they only lost one game the entire night, they secured both Water Pong tournament championships. Going undefeated in the first tournament, they had their eyes set on winning again. In the second tournament, the duo lost their first game but since the double elimination rule they made their way back to the championship and won again. 

“We feel great, me and Zach went out to compete and execute on the tables with anyone, it was just a lot of fun to do something besides being on your laptop or in class, it was really awesome to have,” Moleta said. 

For the future, the Wellness and Recreation department definitely wants to move forward with this tournament in the spring semester, as well as planning for more potential activities that are fun and safe for the students of New Paltz.