Mark and Sara Hazinski share a lot of common ambitious interests and activities. From finishing their college careers at Texas Wesleyan to even practicing and playing together on the university’s table tennis team, this table tennis duo scores on and off the court.
Sara Hazinski, senior accounting major originally from Chengdu, China, started playing table tennis at age 7. Her father was a great influence and motivation to compete so she began following in her father’s footsteps, Sara said. Due to her father’s stern motivation, she did not enjoy the sport very much at first, she said.
Sara said she often desired different activities, such as dance or spending time with friends.
“Even on the weekends I had to go to practice or play matches so I was very exhausted,” Sara explains.
Sara said she began playing competitively playing as a teenager. Sara’s hard work payed off and gave her the opportunity to move to the US to study and compete in the collegiate level. She has won twice as champion in the women’s singles in 2010 and 2011, twice as champion for the mixed doubles in 2010 and 2011, and won three times as champion in the coed-A team champion in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Sara said she currently coaches table tennis on the weekends in Plano for different levels. She encourages players to play by point, to be confident and to stay calm.
Like his wife, senior Mark Hazinski, has played table tennis for 18 years. Originally from Mishawaka, Indiana; Mark began playing table tennis in elementary school in an after-school program started by his principal.
Mark said after his interest began growing in the sport, he started taking lessons from the South Bend Table Tennis Club in Indiana following in and competing in tournaments around Indiana.
“My biggest achievement in table tennis is making the US Olympic team in 2004 and making the US National Team eight times,” Mark said.
The Hazinski’s met at Texas Wesleyan in 2007, have been teammates for five years, and married for four years.
Sara said they were attracted to each other and both impressed with their levels of skill in table tennis.
“We met each other at the tournaments before but we didn’t officially talk to each other until we met at Texas Wesleyan,” Sara said. “Our personality fits each other and as we knew each other more then we started to fall in love.”
Mark and Sara share the same game mentality by fighting one point at a time.
“I try to handle it by only playing one point at a time, don’t underestimate anyone, and always remember to have fun when competing,” Mark said. “I think it is great being teammates with her because we can really motivate each other in practice and tournaments.”
Jasna Rather, head table tennis coach, describes the two players as humble people and strong athletes.
“Sara is a true fighter and a leader.” Rather said. “I am so pleased that they were here for so long and that they carried all these wins for our team for so many years.”