BANNER ELK, NC--Lees-McRae College Head Tennis Coach Paul Goode has announced the signing of Graham Battle to a National Letter of Intent during the NCAA Early Signing Period. Battle will enroll at Lees-McRae and begin his collegiate career with the Bobcats in the fall of 2008.
The winner of four USTA sanctioned tournaments held in North Carolina in 2007, Battle represented the North Carolina Tennis Association in the Southern Closed Championships in Little Rock, AR this past June. A regional finalist and state qualifier as a junior, Battle claimed the Northwestern 4A Conference Player of the Year going undefeated in conference play at the number one singles spot, winning the conference singles championship and leading Watauga to their second straight Northwestern 4A Conference Championship. Battle was also named MVP of the RJ Reynolds Preseason Tournament prior to his break out junior season and claimed his team's most improved player award at season's end.
"I expect Graham to be a big contributor for us next year," stated Goode. "If he works hard between now and then, there really is no telling how good he can be. He is a great athlete with a great deal of raw talent. I have high expectations for him and feel that he will no doubt be a very good collegiate tennis player."
While his junior year may have been a coming out party of sorts, Battle certainly climbed his way to the top also earning Northwestern 4A All Conference accolades in his freshman, sophomore seasons. As a sophomore, Battle was named Watauga's team MVP leading Watauga to the first of back to back Northwestern 4A Conference Championships.
"I want to improve all aspects of my game," commented Battle. "Specifically I feel I need to improve on hitting the big shots and being more aggressive. I really just want to step up my game so that I can compete at the next level."
Currently ranked #15 in the Boys 18 and under division by the North Carolinas Tennis Association, Battle's steady improvement from year to year speaks for itself. As Goode mentioned, "there really is no telling how good he can be."
PICTURED TOP LEFT: Paul Goode