Lily Woods’ college recruiting visits this spring were limited by the coronavirus pandemic. But if you are the Bishop England tennis standout, you are just thankful that the only recruiting trip turned out to be the right one.
Woods, who is finishing out her junior year by taking classes online, recently committed to play tennis at the next level and will matriculate to Spartanburg in the fall of 2021 to play tennis for Wofford College.
“We’ve been on a college search for what seems like forever,” said Woods, who won the Class AAA individual state championship in the fall of 2019 while leading the Bishop girls to yet another team title. “But the last two years, they have really been on my radar. There was only one college I visited and that was Wofford. I loved it. I know the team. I know the coach. And, I know the whole school is awesome. The class sizes are manageable, and it has an excellent academic reputation.”
Woods said she couldn’t have made the college decision without her parents. Her father, Rob Woods, has coached her for 14 years, planning tournaments and contacting coaches as far as recruiting goes. Her mother, Laurie, is a physical therapist who helps keep Woods in shape — and healthy.
Woods has earned seven state championships in her career at BE as she heads into her senior year this fall. Six have come on the tennis court, and the other came on the basketball court.
She’s disciplined, playing two sports. But she shines in the classrooms as well. She had a 4.4 GPA on Bishop England’s grade scale and is involved in a couple of clubs outside of sports.
Picking up two state championships in the fall of 2019, months before the virus hit, meant her season wasn’t affected. But now, she’s just trying to stay fit, hitting balls at the local courts, waiting for a green light.
“It’s tough. It’s very difficult,” Woods said. “It’s one thing to get ready for a match. But it’s a whole different experience than getting ready to practice. It’s a completely different mind-set getting ready for a match than it is to practice.”
Woods never expected to take her BE classes online. But then, she never expected the pandemic.
“Right now, there’s not much to do,” Woods said. “It’s going out to the courts to train and homework. You don’t have many options.”
For now, Woods is hoping for a resumption of her competitive side of tennis. But she wouldn’t be surprised if that doesn’t happen until late summer.
“There were some tournaments, clay court nationals and hard court nationals, that were scheduled,” Woods said. “Those have been put on hold.”
She expects her senior year to be a return to normalcy.
“You try to stay ready for any — and everything,” she said. “And, you hope to come out in a better situation. Life can be unexpected. This is something that is going to go down in history.”