Prep tennis | Out-of-Door Academy's Caroline Dailey signs with South Carolina

HERALD STAFF REPORTNovember 17, 2012 

— Technically, Caroline Dailey is not a member of the Out-of-Door Academy tennis team.

The three-time individual state champion took last spring off from the team -- but not from her schoolwork -- to compete on the junior circuit.

But that didn't stop the school's students and staff from getting together for an assembly Friday morning to commemorate Dailey's signing with the University of South Carolina.

They celebrated a fellow student who owns a 3.9 grade-point average while working on a WTA world ranking that has been as high as 1,150.

"The mere fact that she attends school makes Caroline an anomaly," ODA tennis coach Noel Dougherty said. "Few young women, and none that I know of, are playing tennis at her level and attend school. They are all home-schooled and then attempt to join the pro circuit."

Dailey, who won her first Class 1A state crown as an eighth-grader, said she chose South Carolina because of head coach Kevin Epley. She also visited Notre Dame, Florida State and Ohio State.

"He just really kind of had everything that I was looking for in a coach. And I just think he's the coach that can kind of groom me forward with my game like my coach does now," Dailey said.

And Dailey said she may return to the Thunder for her senior year.

"I've been thinking about it and I haven't quite made my final decision yet, but I think that I might end up doing that just because it might be a good way to go out. To go back to the school one more time, and it would be kind of fun. So I'm definitely considering that," she said.

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