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The best just gets better

Rebels singles standout Kira Lee seemingly left herself little room to improve, but still found a way to step up her game

January 04, 2011|By Gabriel Rizk,

A two-time Prep League Most Valuable Player and veteran of team and individual postseason runs during her first two years on the Flintridge Prep tennis team, a span in which she won a combined 100 matches, Kira Lee had certainly set some high standards for herself.

That didn't stop the Rebels singles standout from trying to raise her game even higher during her junior season.

"I practiced a lot during the summer, so I was just hoping to go out there and do my best again this year," Lee says. "I didn't really think about it too much because I didn't want to psyche myself out or anything. I just wanted to take everything one match at a time."

Working from that simple approach, Lee didn't lose a match until the final day of her season, finishing with an incredible mark of 60-1.


"It took a top player playing in the zone to basically beat her," Flintridge Prep Coach Ron Catano says in reference to Lee's lone defeat at the hands of San Marino standout Sarah Gealer in the third round of the CIF Individuals. "It was an impressive way for her to finish the season."

Along the way, Lee dominated the Prep League once again, going 30-0 and helping Prep make the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs for the second year in a row. Her third straight league MVP award followed shortly.

"She's always been focused and consistent, but I think this year it went to a whole other level," sophomore singles teammate Jenise Vargas says. "She was way more consistent and way more focused and it just helped her a lot to perform better on the court."

In the team playoffs, Lee powered the Rebels to the second round, one step further than the previous season, and saved likely her most impressive achievement for last.

By reaching the round of 32 for the first time in CIF Individuals competition, Lee continued her arc of progressing further each season and cemented her bid for a second straight All-Area Girls' Singles Player of the Year Award, as voted on by the sports writers and editors of the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader and La Cañada Valley Sun.

"By the end of the season I felt like I was playing pretty well," Lee says. "Throughout the whole season, you're playing like three matches a week, so really half of it is just getting match play and having that mental game to be playing a whole lot of matches.

"I definitely felt like I had improved over the season."

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