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Best College Player Orange County 2011 - Lynn Walker, Vanguard University Women's Tennis

Lynn Walker, Vanguard University Women\'s Tennis

Lynn Walker, Vanguard University Women's Tennis

55 Fair Drive

Costa Mesa, CA 92626

714-668-6145

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Readers' Choice: Michael Lorenzen, Cal State Fullerton

If sports are really half-mental, the amount of emotional baggage in the mind of Lynn Walker would have crippled most collegiate athletes, leaving them on the floor, hugging their knees to their chest and bawling their eyes out. She lost both her father and her mother in traumatic fashion, and last year, she found out that what she thought was a lingering injury in her calf was actually a cancerous tumor. It seemed life had nothing but unfortunate circumstances to present to the now-50-year-old woman. Walker was once a promising junior tennis player in an area of Florida that churned out talent. (She once hit with John McEnroe, before anyone outside Florida knew his name; in true McEnroe fashion, he called her a cunt, and she left the court in tears.) During her senior year of high school, Walker was set to attend an out-of-state university on a scholarship when her father passed away in the arms of her mother; a femoral artery ruptured, and he bled out onto the family's white rug. Unwilling to leave her mother's side during such a tough time, Walker dropped out of high school and took a job with a high-end fashion company, rising quickly through its ranks. Six years after her mother passed away, Walker, then 47, decided it was time to get a college degree (she had already gotten her GED). She attended Santiago Canyon College before settling at Costa Mesa's Vanguard University and surprised even herself by landing a spot on the women's tennis team—after more than 20 years of not picking up a racket. In her final season of competition—when opponents still occasionally questioned whether a coach was on the opposite end of the court—she helped the team make it to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Women's Tennis National Championships tournament, competing in both singles and doubles. In May, Walker attended the graduation for the college degree she had long coveted. Next up for Walker: planning her wedding.

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