SPORTS STORY OF THE YEAR
The CNMI’s Carol Lee left a good impression in the Junior ITF Circuit this year after competing in a handful of tournaments in Asia, Oceania, Pacific, and Africa.
The 16-year-old player won two doubles championships and one singles crown and made several finals semis, and quarterfinals appearanceS in tournaments held in New Zealand, Morocco, New Caledonia, Fiji, Malaysia, Thailand, and South Korea.
She got her first title (doubles) this year in the RUC Tennis Junior Open in Casablanca and then took the singles and doubles crowns in the New Caledonia ITF Junior Open and BNP Paribas Junior de Nouvelle-Caledonie, respectively.
Though busy in competing in the Junior ITF Circuit, Lee still found time to represent the CNMI to the 2017 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships in Fiji and capped her last season in the annual tournament in style by sweeping the girls U16 singles and doubles titles.
Lee also suited up for Pacific Oceania Team that participated in the Junior Fed Cup in India and the Fed Cup in Tajikistan.
For her final tournament of the year, the three-time NMSA/Tan Siu Lin Foundation Female Student Athlete of the Year went to China to join the Australian Open 2018 Asia-Pacific Wildcard Playoff Tournament. She made it to the quarterfinals of the qualifier which featured players in the Top 200 rankings.
Lee, as of Dec. 25, 2017, is ranked No. 212 in the world and got her highest ranking (No. 208) last Aug. 8. She now has 213.75 combined ranking points (doubles and singles) and looks forward to moving up to the ladder next year as she competes in more off-island events, including a possible stint in the 2018 Australian Open (Juniors) Qualifying Tournament in Melbourne.
“2017 was a very challenging year for me. I moved to Fiji for training and it was a big adjustment, but I learned so much from my matches and practice sessions. I got to compete against great tennis players from all over the world, saw lots of cool things, and made so many friends,” Lee said.
“Representing Pacific Oceania and the CNMI in the Fed Cup was a highlight for me and I am looking forward to representing our islands again in 2018. I may not be able to accomplish all of my goals in 2017, but that makes me want to work even harder for next year’s competitions,” she added.