Tiger Tales is a weekly piece highlighting a DePauw student-athlete. Athletic-intern Adam Tierney conducts the interviews.
Maddie Lee is the junior captain on the women's tennis team and comes from South Bend, Ind. She is a graduate of Penn High School and likes to go on runs, listen to music, hang out with friends, eating, cooking and reading.
Lee is studying Neuroscience. She is involved with the Team Riggle Foundation as a co-chair, she is a Rho Gamma with Greek Recruitment, a part of SAAC, the VP of Programming for Phi Delta Epsilon, a T.A. in the Psychology department and is a member of the Phi Beta Phi sorority.
Q: How would your friends and family describe you?
A: My family would say energetic, fun, positive, a perfectionist, organized, meticulous and driven. My friends would say something similar with more of the creative side and the athletic and hardworking side.
Q: What is your most memorable athletic moment?
A: Freshman year it was our offseason in the fall -- it was at the ITA Regional. 30 teams came to DePauw to play that year. I was playing a doubles match with my current doubles partner. We won our first two matches and saw that we were facing the No. 1 team from Chicago. So, we went into it not sure what to expect, but we wanted to have fun and try our best. We ended up beating them and knocking them out of the tournament. I don't think we realized how big of an upset that it was until we talked to our coach afterwards, and he was really pumped up and excited. That day started the chemistry between us and showed us how fun it is to compete on a team here.
Q: Why did you choose DePauw?
A: I think the biggest thing is that I felt like I can do anything here. I can be academically, athletically and socially involved. I felt like I wouldn't have to compromise or give up one of those areas. I guess when I visited campus, I felt really comfortable and felt like there was a lot of people like me and unlike me that can challenge me with things that I am uncomfortable with. Logistically, it's within 3.5 hours of my house, and I like the size a lot.
Q: What one or two things do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?
A: I think the main aspect that our coach has harped on is our fitness -- endurance, speed, agility, things like that. We always want to be the team when it comes down to a third set match, we don't want to be that team or player that gets tired or not enough energy to finish out the third set. Especially looking down the conference schedule at the tougher opponents we are going to face, we don't want that to be a reason to why we lose. So, we do a lot of running. Two sometimes three times a week, we run six 800s, which are brutal, but I think that we are starting to feel the benefits of those. And incorporating good lifts into our regiment and focusing on the good nutrition aspect is really good for us. Even on our off days, I see girls working on their fitness at the gym.
Q: What advice would you have for young tennis players looking to improve themselves?
A: Thinking about myself as a freshman, I was really excited and fired up about college. I'm realizing now that I was way too hard on myself. It was more of a negative than a positive. So, I would tell them you're here for a reason. You're recruited to play here or decided to play on the team, and that's really saying something. Also, appreciating the smaller victories everyday is more then just winning or losing. If you are serving great one day, that's better to focus on than losing the match. It builds on itself and gives you confidence.
Q: Do you have any superstitions?
A: In college I always felt like I had to wear this necklace with my initials on them. When I don't have it on, I don't feel like I play well. Especially between points, I touch it or play with it. It's somewhat of a confidence booster. Also, when I serve and the ball goes into the net, if it goes to the right, I have to move it. But if it goes to the left I leave it. It's kind of weird, but it's just something I do.
Q: What superpower would you want?
A: Reading people's minds. I think that would be cool to see what they're thinking. Nothing would be unexpected which would be kind of nice, but it does take the fun out of things.
Q: What is your favorite Disney movie?
A: I was a big Disney kid growing up. I think Finding Nemo. I loved the plot and the characters were so funny. It reminds me of my childhood and the carefree days. It also makes me want to go to Australia and scuba dive.
Q: Who is your favorite athlete past or present?
A: Mia Hamm was always a big figure since I was playing soccer at a young age. It was really cool to look up to her. Being a strong woman on the field as well as off the field was really inspiring. Tennis-wise, I really like Victoria Azarenka. She's a very classy, sportsmanlike player, but she also gives everything she's got. She is so much fun to watch and see her energy on the court.