Lyndsee Fleury didn’t pick up a tennis racket until her sophomore year of high school.
Two years later, she won a sub-district 2A singles title, was runner-up in her bi-district tournament and won a match at the Class 2A State Tournament.
For her accomplishments, the Burlington-Edison senior is the Skagit Valley Herald Girls’ Tennis Player of the Year.
“I’m really happy with how the season went,” Fleury said. “I had hoped to advance further at state. ... It was still a good experience. There were a lot of great players there.”
Fleury said her patience and her mental game improved this season, raising her win total.
“I am a more patient player,” she said. “I didn’t rush after the point, didn’t go for it too soon. In the beginning, I was trying to put points away in a hurry. Now I set them up. I have lost matches in the past by rushing, by getting anxious, by being focused on just getting the ball over the net. That’s what a lot of high school players do.”
And that mental game?
“I was down a lot this season,” she said. “There were matches where it was 4-0 and 5-0. I just switched some things around and came back. Before, I’d just give up. But this year, I kept trying to do my best.”
That improvement didn’t go unnoticed.
“She worked just as hard learning the game mentally as she did growing her skills on the court,” coach Joel Wasson said. “It’s really a great success story of someone working hard to achieve their goals. ... ‘Look at what you could do if you set your mind to it.’”
While Fleury may have fallen short of what she wanted to accomplish at the state tournament, she rolled at the sub-district tournament.
“I was actually kind of nervous because I was the No. 1 seed at sub-districts,” she said. “After my first match, I got more relaxed. I knew the players I was playing, kind of knew their game and knew what I needed to do.”
The home-schooled Fleury plans on taking a year off from school before moving on to college.
“I definitely want to play in college,” she said. “I want to play at that next level. Right now, I’m focused on working to save money for college. I plan on playing a lot of tournaments this summer to get my USTA ranking up.”
She said she has plenty to work on.
“There are so many things,” Fleury said. “But I know what I need to do to improve my overall game. I just have to play consistent every point.”
All she’s accomplished isn’t too shabby for someone who first picked up a racquet two years ago at the urging of her grandfather. After that she went high tech, watching YouTube videos involving the sport.
“My grandpa played,” Fleury said. “He told me to try it out to see if I liked it. I did and in six weeks, I was playing third singles on varsity. I’ve improved a lot since then.
“I now play for the Bellingham Tennis Club and actually got a scholarship to play there after writing an essay on what I love about the sport. That’s really going to help me.”