CNMI tennis standout Carol Lee will play NCAA Division I tennis after picking Georgia Institute of Technology—or simply Georgia Tech—as the college she will enroll in this Fall semester.
The 18-year-old daughter of Lee Dong Min and Lee Eunkyoung said she will be getting a full-ride scholarship at Georgia Tech and that she’s very excited to becoming a Yellow Jacket, the university’s moniker.
“The assistant coach contacted me and messaged me that their school was interested in having me for their tennis team and they wanted to recruit me to check out their school. They also offered me a full ride. I am really excited and thrilled to compete in Division I tennis,” she told Saipan Tribune.
The 5’8” Lee said she can’t wait to further develop her tennis game both physically and mentally and at the same time earn a college degree. She intimated that Georgia Tech was not the only Division I school after her.
“Other schools sounded great for me, but when I visited Georgia Tech during their fall season, there were many greens and I liked it. I also liked how the coaches train the girls. I feel comfortable with the coaches and I can trust them. The girls were really nice to me and I liked their vibe. I can imagine myself being with them and having fun as a team. The people are diverse and I liked how people came internationally, like Saipan.”
Lee, who is from Chalan Kanoa, said she will have to complete her high school units first before she can pursue her lifelong dream of playing Division I tennis at Georgia Tech.
“I am not sure when I will go, but I am [looking at] going this year in the Fall. I will be majoring in business.”
She thanked God, her family, especially her parents, the International Tennis Federation, and coaches Roxanne Clarke, Thomas Perrin, and Tito Bira for molding her to the person and tennis player she is today.
Asked about her secret to honing her tennis skills to a point where she was able to get a full-ride scholarship to a Division I school in the U.S., Lee said one just has to work hard.
“The message I want to share with the athletes out there who aspire to go to Division I on a full-ride scholarship is to keep working hard, you are halfway there to reach your goals.”
CNMI national tennis coach and sports hall of famer Jeff Race congratulated Lee for getting into Georgia Tech and wished her well in her college tennis career.
“Getting a full scholarship to play tennis at Georgia Tech is very well deserved. Carol has a great work ethic and is very coachable. She’s going to do great there and she’s only going to get better,” he said.
Lee said she first picked up a tennis racquet when she was 6 years old and that her father, Lee Dong Min, basically served as her coach during her formative years.
“After I was watching my dad play at the American Memorial Park tennis courts with his local and Filipino friends, I thought it was a fun sport and was interested. I wanted to compete and win,” she said.
Growing up, Lee said she looked up to Serena Williams and Roger Federer and wanted to be like them.