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Boys' Tennis: Lee comes through for Sailors

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Senior singles player, a team captain, helped Newport Harbor capture Lightning Invitational for second straight year.

March 08, 2013|By Matt Szabo
  • Christian Lee, a Newport Harbor High senior tennis player, is the Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week.
Christian Lee, a Newport Harbor High senior tennis player,… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

Like many children, Christian Lee played sports with his father while growing up.

Lee's father, Young, is a good tennis player. But Young Lee was not the type of dad who let his kid win every once in a while.

Coming into his senior year at Newport Harbor High, Christian said he had never beaten his father in the sport.

Then dad upped the ante.

"I got my license and I wanted a car," Christian Lee said. "My dad said, 'If you beat me, I'll buy you a car.'"

Now that's a match that Christian won't soon forget. He defeated his dad for the first time, 6-3, 6-3. And Young delivered on his half of the bargain, too, buying his middle son a dark blue Kia.

"It was big for me," Christian Lee said. "He was like, 'Aww man, that's a big blow to my wallet.'"

Christian has been a money player for the Sailors during his three years on varsity. Each year, he has played at No. 2 singles, and he has come through in the clutch for Newport Harbor.

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The Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week did it again last weekend at the Lightning Invitational, hosted by Sage Hill at The Tennis Club Newport Beach. Lee made sure the Sailors would win the tournament for the second straight year.

He earned the singles MVP award, and shared the doubles MVP award with teammate Reese Stalder. Lee, who was an all-tournament selection for the second straight year, was undefeated in both singles and doubles in the tournament.

The Sailors topped Tesoro, 5-4, in the tournament. The deciding set ended up being Lee's 7-6 (7-3) singles victory over Tesoro's Michael Park. He won the last five points of the tiebreaker.

"It felt great," Lee said. "It feels good knowing that I pulled out the tiebreaker; that I won that for the team."

Lee had to switch up his style to win the match. Usually he takes big strokes and goes for winners, but against the quick Park, Lee played a more consistent game. That type of intelligent play is typical of Lee, who has a 4.2 grade-point average and is currently taking advanced placement classes in government, calculus BC, biology, art history and language.

Lee, who said he is also co-president of the Ambassadors Club at Newport Harbor, is waiting to hear back from the 10 colleges to which he applied. His top choice is USC. That's where his older brother Daniel, who also played tennis at Harbor before graduating in 2010, currently attends.

On the court, Christian's smarts are apparent for the Sailors.

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