The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

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SPORTS: Lee Sisters State Tennis

Girls tennis players Cami Lee and Maya Lee make a competitive run at state
Senior+Maya+Lee+anticipates+the+ball+as+she+serves.+Although+this+is+Lee%E2%80%99s+final+year+with+Free+State%2C+her+tennis+journey+has+not+yet+reached+an+end.+%E2%80%9CI+am+playing+in+college+and+intend+to+coach+to+make+money+during+school+as+well.%E2%80%9D+Lee+said.+
Amelia Wiles
Senior Maya Lee anticipates the ball as she serves. Although this is Lee’s final year with Free State, her tennis journey has not yet reached an end. “I am playing in college and intend to coach to make money during school as well.” Lee said.

On Oct. 14, the Lee sisters capped off an impressive performance at state, with senior Maya Lee and sophomore Cami Lee finishing fifth and tenth respectively. Through harsh conditions and even battling themselves at one point, both sisters said state was a good experience that went along with a memorable season.

Head coach Randy Clark said the Lee’s had a successful and progressive season, and noted their hard work ethics and positive attitudes.

“They all got along well and supported each other throughout the year, especially Maya and Cami,” Clark said .”They continually got better, which is a big part of the reason why they got to state.”

Maya Lee talked about her overall experience at state, and what it was like her senior year. She said that because it was her senior year, she put a lot of pressure on herself to win; however, after her successful finish at the state tournament, she is satisfied with her season.

“I’d say it was a really successful season, and with my fifth place state finish I felt pretty good about it,” Maya Lee said. “I enjoyed being at state with my sister. I feel like that’s something I’ll remember for a long time.”

After coming off a serious injury, Cami Lee said she had a lot on her plate. Although her sophomore season was filled with roadblocks, she said she enjoyed the challenges that were presented to her throughout the season, even having to eventually face off against her older sister.

“Last year, I dislocated my knee twice, so I took six months off and I came back just at the beginning of the season. I was bad, but I warmed up and I got better. At the beginning of the season, no one thought I was gonna go to state but then I got 10th, so it was pretty fun,” Cami Lee said.

However, Cami Lee said she was not a fan of the storm-like conditions that ensued for the duration of the tournament.

“It was horrible — it was almost not even tennis. There were 32 mph winds. If you would toss the ball up it would fly away, so it made serving very problematic. It was hard to cope with, but you had to get around it and figure out which skills would help you and which ones wouldn’t help you,” Cami Lee said.

Maya Lee reported similar opinions, and said that the conditions only added to the stress that she already felt was looming on her. Additionally, she had to face her sister on the first match of the second day, meaning that the two knew they were playing each other on the drive home.

“It was incredibly windy, and playing tennis in the wind is not ideal. It was also freezing cold,” Maya Lee said. “I played in my coat for part of my matches, which is not normal. “[Playing Cami] was challenging because I was supposed to win and the pressure was on me, and I tend to choke when that happens. We were both stressed about that.”

For Cami Lee, making strides in her next two years of tennis is important to her. She said she hopes to improve her Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) and place fifth or better at next year’s state competition. Additionally, she said she continues to apply the lessons she has learned through tennis, the biggest being that the game teaches you mental toughness.

Maya has closed the page on her last chapter of tennis at Free State. Although her playing days are done, she said she has taken away a lot from the game, and it has strengthened her as a person.

“I’m a perfectionist, and that definitely hurts me in the sport a lot. And it helps me move on from things I tend to obsess over, like failures or mistakes for a long time. But with tennis, you play multiple matches in one day, so you have to move on from the previous one pretty quickly,” Maya Lee said.

Additionally, she wants young and future firebird tennis players to make sure they enjoy their time, and love what they do.

“Make sure that you continue to like the sport, and don’t overwork yourself. The more you like it and the more you enjoy playing, the better you’ll get, so value yourself over the sport, always,” Maya Lee said.

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About the Contributors
Nick Sprecker
Nick Sprecker, Sports Editor
Nick Sprecker is a junior at Free State and is the Sports Editor on staff. Outside of journalism, he is a member of the boys football and soccer program. He is involved in multiple clubs, LINK, and NHS.
Amelia Wiles
Amelia Wiles, Photographer
Amelia Wiles is a junior at Free State and a photographer for Free State Journalism. Outside of journalism, she is a member of the girls soccer team and is involved in NHS. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with friends, traveling, and anything outdoors.
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