Five-time Northern Marianas Sports Association/Tan Siu Lin Foundation Female Student Athlete of the Year Carol Lee is now in Atlanta to start her collegiate career with Georgia Tech.
Lee left Saipan last Saturday and arrived in Georgia the following day. She spent her first few days in Atlanta meeting her coach and new teammates and getting acclimated with her new environment, and is now preparing for training sessions with the Yellow Jackets.
“My coach [Rodney Harmon] picked me up from the airport. I did meet my teammates (roommates too) but not everyone. It felt good and happy to meet them in person and get to know each other more. My roommate helped me in picking my bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and personal stuff which I am thankful for,” said Lee, who received a full athletic scholarship from Georgia Tech after her impressive junior career that saw her play in Australian and US Open (juniors) and Fed Cup (both juniors and women’s teams), win multiple titles in World ITF Junior Circuit, and dominate Pacific Oceania events.
Lee added that her classes will begin on Aug. 17, while Georgia Tech tennis program’s practice will official start next month.
“But the girl’s squad will make a team schedule to practice starting next week,” the 19-year-old athlete said.
The CNMI player added that although they won’t see action in any tournament soon due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she and the rest of her teammates will be following regular training schedule.
“The Fall season is canceled, but the team will still have normal practice and school schedules. Some of the courses are online and some are being worked out to have face to face setting,” Lee said.
If not for the pandemic, Lee would have debuted for Georgia Tech next month via the Debbie Southern Furman Fall Classic and would have competed in a couple more invitational meets. She is hoping that things will get better soon or before the Spring season starts next year, as the Yellow Jackets compete in the elite Atlantic Coast Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (Division 1).
Meanwhile, the Georgia Tech rookie acknowledged the challenges she will be facing in her first year in the collegiate ranks, including canceled competitions and modified training sessions, due to the pandemic, but she remains optimistic and will use this season to improve her game and work with her teammates.
“Staying healthy and trying to avoid big crowds are my priorities. Next is to keep working hard in tennis and in school and building relationships with my team and others,” Lee said.