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College tennis: Wilsonville alumna Abby Farrell takes well-rounded approach at Lehigh

The accomplished Division I student-athlete balances academics and extracurricular activities while playing key roles on the university women's tennis team.


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: LEHIGH ATHLETICS - Abby Farrell, who won a state singles title as a senior at Wilsonville High in 2011, has continued her tennis career at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.Abby Farrell is striving to make the most of her college experience at Lehigh University.

The former Wilsonville High School athlete studies environmental engineering and neuroscience, carrying a 3.94 grade-point average.

She has served as a residential advisor for first-year students and as the editor of the yearbook’s athletics section, also participating in a leadership program at the private school in Bethlehem, Pa.

She has guided tours for prospective students and registered her peers to vote, still finding holes in her schedule to joke with friends about her 52-second Rubik’s Cube record.

For Farrell, all of this has come while playing at or near the top of the lineup for a Division I women’s tennis program.

The sophomore said she doesn’t have any secret strategies. But it seems the busier she is, the better she is at staying focused.

“It is easy to find a balance when I am so happy with my encompassing college experiences,” Farrell said. “I am probably more productive with my time than some of my classmates in order to do so.”

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: LEHIGH ATHLETICS - Abby Farrell is playing Division I women's tennis at Lehigh University while studying environmental engineering and neuroscience.Farrell has certainly been productive on the tennis court. She has logged 15 singles victories and 17 doubles wins in two seasons with the Mountain Hawks, who compete in the Patriot League against Army, Navy, Bucknell and others.

This past season, under the tutelage of longtime coach Dave Shook, she earned second-team all-conference honors after winning seven singles matches at No. 2 and adding 10 doubles victories with partner Jenai Bilimoria on the top court.

“The college tennis experience has been more than I ever expected,” she said. “Playing high in the line up for a Division I program gives me the opportunity to compete against full-scholarship players, which has brought my game to the next level. I competed against a past national champion of Canada and beat a national champion of Mexico — experiences I would have never received from a smaller program.”

Farrell has embraced the off-court benefits of collegiate tennis as well. She’s traveled frequently, made new friends and forged connections with alumni.

Perhaps not surprisingly, she won her team Coach’s Award as a freshman. She has also earned academic all-conference recognition and a spot on the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll.

“I love every second of my time on the tennis court, but my coursework comes first,” Farrell said.

Away from school, Farrell has become something of an ambassador for her sport. Two summers ago, served as a liaison between coaches and players on a trip to Europe. She recently spearheaded clinics for local youth at Wilsonville High.

“The kids love the challenges and rewards the game presents, and I love sharing in their excitement,” she said. “I see myself in some of the youngest kids who never stopped smiling on the court because I remember loving being out there, too — even though I could barely hold my racquet.” Farrell could do much more than hold a racquet by the time she graduated from high school in 2011. She won an OSAA singles championship as a senior after taking third place as a junior, leading the Wildcats to back-to-back state team titles.

The experiences were particularly special because of the people surrounding her.

“When I think of Wilsonville tennis, I remember the camaraderie amongst teammates and the summer tournament that the dedicated coaches and parents ran as a fundraiser,” Farrell said. “Personally, my fondest memories were having my dad (Mike Farrell) as my coach, my sister (Taylor Farrell) on the team for three of our years and ultimately the state championship my senior year.”

AT A GLANCE

Abby Farrell at Lehigh University

  • 2012: 15-21 overall (8-10 in singles at Nos. 2-3; 7-11 in doubles at Nos. 1-2)
  • 2013: 17-23 overall (7-13 in singles at No. 2; 10-10 in doubles at No. 1)
  • Totals: 32-44 overall (15-23 in singles at Nos. 2-3; 17-21 in doubles at Nos. 1-2)



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