Spring Signing Week '12: Chi Goes West to Join Bears
by Colette Lewis
, 11 April 2012
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It's not often a Floridian cites weather as a reason for relocating, but blue chip senior Lynn Chi offers that as one of many reasons she will be signing a National Letter of Intent to attend the University of California-Berkeley this fall.
The 17-year-old Weston, Florida resident was seeking a combination of top-level academics and athletics, with the opportunity to join Cal a year early another factor nudging her west.
"I was looking for a school with good tennis and good academics, and obviously Cal fits both those priorities," says Chi, who did year-round home schooling via Florida Virtual School in order to graduate early. "My mom has family in California and I've been going there every summer since I was young, so I really love the state. The weather there is amazing and I like the people."
Because she was still considered a junior academically until recently, Chi was required to pay her own way when visiting the schools she believed would best fit her goals. She took unofficial visits to Northwestern, Michigan, Virginia and North Carolina, but it was her desire to begin her college career, and another recruit's decision to turn pro, that tipped the scales in Cal's favor.
"After talking with my parents and my coach, I didn't feel the need to stay another year and play more tournaments and do more school," says Chi, who has been competing in junior tournaments since the 10s. "I had this opportunity from Berkeley, where they had an opening, because one of the girls they were going to sign turned pro, so I had an opportunity to go a year earlier."
Part of Chi's eagerness to start college stems from her love of team sports. Although Chi says she wasn't very good at soccer, she preferred it to swimming, her other sport as a youngster, describing the endless laps as "too boring for me."
"I played [USTA] junior Fed Cup the last two years," says Chi, who was undefeated playing No. 3 during the Florida section's 2011 championship run. "It gives kind of a college feel, and I really like that. I'm really looking forward to having a team backing you up and being there to support you."
Chi also believes she can improve her game playing in the Pac-12, always one of the nation's top tennis conferences. Contributing to an NCAA title is also one of her goals.