Tennis: US college calls for Dunedin teen

Dunedin tennis ace Libby Scott has accepted a sports scholarship at Coastal Carolina University and leaves next month. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Dunedin tennis ace Libby Scott has accepted a sports scholarship at Coastal Carolina University and leaves next month. Photo by Craig Baxter.
All those flights to Auckland to sharpen up her game have paid off for Dunedin's Libby Scott.

The 18-year-old former St Hilda's Collegiate School pupil leaves the city next month, bound for the United States. She has accepted a sporting scholarship at Coastal Carolina University.

It is dream come true for the hard-working athlete. Scott took up tennis when she was about 6 years old and for the last few years has been travelling to Auckland in the weekends in search of tougher competition.

"I'm really excited," she said.

The four-year scholarship covers the cost of her education, travel, food and board, and Scott hopes to get some work in the summer camps coaching tennis, to earn some pocket money.

She is unsure what she will study but is determined to work as hard in the classroom as she does on the court.

"In the first couple of years you just take general papers and then you major in something after that. But I think I'll probably do something like sports science."

Coastal Carolina - nicknamed the Chanticleers - competes in the Big South Conference and Scott expects the level of tennis to be very competitive.

"I've heard training is really full-on and you don't get many rest days. That will be good. I'm looking forward to it."

Scott has won national titles at age group level in both singles and doubles, but one of her main goals has always been to get a scholarship to a college in the United States.

She leaves on August 9. She has not packed yet but has started thinking about the summer clothes she will need.

Scott is following in the footsteps of former Otago No 1 and St Hilda's head girl Dianne Hollands, who had a stellar career at the University of Arizona and went on to play professionally.

"I've been talking to her and emailing her and she has been a big help."

Scott finished school at the end of last year and has been working at George Street Normal School as a teaching assistant, helping out with the after-school and holiday programmes. She has also been doing some administration work at the University of Otago while waiting to take up her scholarship.

Her parents, Jan and Neville, have been her greatest supporters and have mixed emotions about their daughter's plans for the next four years.

"They're happy for me and know it is what I have to do, but they'll miss me. They have been such a big help for me and always really supportive."