All-Bee girls tennis Player of the Year: Megan Lee
Elite-level high school tennis players often spend their offseasons hitting the courts on the club circuit.
Megan Lee, however, spends her winters in the gym and springs and summers on the diamond.
The Buchanan High senior rarely picks up a racket until a couple of weeks before school starts in the fall, not that it’s stopped her from becoming one of the Central Section’s best.
“If it wasn’t like this, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself,” said Lee, The Bee’s Player of the Year in girls tennis. “I’m better staying busy. It hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve gotten into a routine — going to school, going to practice, coming home to do homework — and I’m comfortable with it.”
Lee was the section singles runner-up and helped lead the Bears to Tri-River Athletic Conference and Division I team titles. She finished 28-8 in singles and 11-2 in doubles.
“She’s a freak of an athlete,” Buchanan coach Jonathan Slater said. “A lot of kids, it takes them two or three months if they haven’t been playing to get back into it. But it takes Megan two or three days. She can pick it up like she never left.”
Lee said there’s a simple explanation why she can seamlessly transition into tennis after a summer of travel softball preceded by a winter of basketball.
“I’m a pretty competitive person,” said Lee, 65-10 in singles and 47-7 in doubles over the past three seasons. “I don’t like to lose so I go out there and try my best.”
When the daughter of former Clovis West and Buchanan tennis coach Dave Lee arrived on campus four years ago, Slater figured the freshman would contribute mostly in doubles and play sparingly down the ladder in singles.
She ended up playing No. 3 singles most of that season and was part of the doubles team that provided match-point in the Bears’ 5-4 win over Clovis West for the D-I title.
“Since then I’ve not been surprised by anything she does,” Slater said.
After playing No. 2 singles as a sophomore and junior behind Kathryn Ashford — the duo also teaming to win the section doubles tournament in 2011 and finish as runners-up in 2010 — Lee took over the No. 1 spot this season.
She combined with fellow senior team captain Maddy Monreal to lead a team with three freshman and one sophomore starter to a 27-0 start before a 7-0 loss to Arcadia in the first CIF Southern California Regional Championships.
“One of the main reasons we had the season we had is because she’s a great leader,” Slater said. “She is really able to motivate other players and get them to improve. We’ve had great players in the past, but Megan not only was able to elevate her game, but those around her. And that’s a pretty special quality.”
Megan Lee, Buchanan
She’s qualified because:Went 28-8 in singles and 11-2 in doubles while leading Buchanan to Tri-River Athletic Conference and Central Section Division I team crowns as well as winning league and finishing runner-up in the section in singles. Her four-year career also featured a section doubles title (2011) and a runner-up finish (2010) with former partner Kathryn Ashford, and another D-I team title in 2009. The 3.75-GPA student and three-sport athlete (she’s been a three-year varsity basketball and softball player) plans to compete in tennis at Fresno Pacific.
By Nick Giannandrea