Lily Woods earns state and individual tennis titles
One day she wins the Class AAA state championship in individual tennis, and the next day she’s on the basketball court preparing for the upcoming season. There is so much to do, and so little time to celebrate her vast accomplishments.
Welcome to the life of Lily Woods. She’s a junior at Bishop England High School, an institution that is known for producing high-profile athletes such as Drew Meyer, Reese Havens, Derek Hughes and Leo Albano.
But by the time she graduates, Woods has a chance to stand alone. She currently has seven state championships to her credit, with another four on the horizon.
How does Woods’ state championship count stack up? Let us count the ways.
She’s played tennis since seventh grade for BE and has been a member of five team championships. Last Thursday’s victory over Annie Jennings of Christ Church High School gave her six.
She also was a member of last year’s Battling Bishops basketball team that won the state title to give her seven.
She could win another basketball championship this season and the next. Remember, she’s only a junior. And she could add state tennis titles in team and individual play.
So how does Woods handle the double duty?
“I’ve kind of gotten used to it,” said Woods, whose father, Robert, is the tennis pro at Snee Farm in Mount Pleasant and has served as her coach since she was 3 years old. “I have a good balance. And sports are fun. It’s not work.”
She approaches her school homework the same way. She’s disciplined and makes the most of her time away from the court. She sports a 4.4 GPA on Bishop England’s grade scale and is involved in a couple of clubs to make sure her resume will catch even the most jaded college recruiter’s eye.
The individual state tennis championship tested Woods’ talent and patience. The event, held at the Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center, was pushed back two times because of bad weather.
Woods played five matches in the individual event and lost only three games. She beat some of the best competition the Upstate had to offer including Melina Norton of St. Joseph, Sarah Allen of Christ Church and her teammate Jennings.
“I was surprised how well I did,” Woods said. “But I was in a zone.”
Even at the team level, tennis is still very much an individual effort because when a player is on the court, they don’t know how their teammates are doing.
“You just focus on your match,” Woods said. “You focus on winning your match. Winning the state championship in basketball was a completely different experience because you are playing in a stadium.”
Woods is the true definition of a student-athlete, and she’s starting to think about college.
“I want to stay in the South and play tennis,” Woods said. “But you never know.”