Paly Athletics is beginning a new series called Following The Vikes, a follow-up interview and story with former Palo Alto High School student-athletes participating in intercollegiate athletics all over the country.
We begin with Carly Leong. Carly was a superstar in her own right during her four years on Paly’s campus so it’s not a surprise that her basketball career has taken off at the college level. In her high school days, Carly averaged 20 points per game and was named SCVAL league MVP her senior season. She’s a two-time CCS champion and she was a prolific three-point shooter. It’s not surprising to anyone who’s seen her play that her game has translated well at the next level. She’s entering year two at Pitzer-Pomona college in Southern California where she plays guard for the lady Sagehens. As a freshman last year, she averaged 16.0 points per game and shot close to 40% from behind the three point line. Despite being only a true freshman, she played in 26 games and was on the floor nearly 30 minutes a game. So, how’s she doing now? We followed up with Carly to see how year two has started and what she’s up to now. In Carly’s words:
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do in your college town or on campus that doesn’t have to do with athletics?
A: My favorite thing to do is play spike ball with my friends on campus.
Q: Describe a typical day in your life as a college athlete on your campus.
A: I usually have class in the morning, go to lunch, have more class, then practice for a couple of hours. Sometimes we would lift or shoot in the mornings then have practice later. During preseason we condition and lift everyday to get in shape for our season and we fitness test on the morning of the first day of practice.
Q: What has been your most memorable athletic moment since you arrived on campus?
A: My most memorable moment was last year when I was a freshman. We beat CMS, which is our rival school, in the SCIAC championship game. By winning this game, we got a bid to go to the NCAA tournament and got to fly to Wisconsin for the first round. It was the first time in history that Pomona Pitzer women’s basketball got to the NCAA tournament!
Q: Is there anything you would change about your recruiting process or the school you chose?
A: I would just say to keep your options open and be open minded because it is a really important decision to make. I love the school that I chose.
Q: What do you miss most about playing sports at Paly?
A: I miss the athletic staff and all of my teammates. I miss the energy that Paly brought to my games. SKO VIKES.
Q: What surprised you most about being a college athlete?
A: The amount of time that being a student athlete takes. It takes a lot of time whether it is traveling, extra shooting/reps, game days, scouting, practices, ice baths, etc.
Q: What is something you’ve learned from being an athlete at the collegiate level?
A: I have learned about time management. My time management became really good over the course of my season because I had certain times where I had to finish my work because I would have no other time to do it.
Q: What has been the hardest part of being a college athlete so far?
A: The hardest part is keeping yourself healthy and managing your time. You really have to keep your body healthy and maintained. You are training a lot so you have to make sure you are eating right and taping your ankles and rolling out and icing. Whatever keeps your body healthy.
As well as succeeding in the classroom, Carly had an extremely successful freshman campaign on the hardwood and looks to continue that this year as a sophomore. Last year alone she was named first team all-league and freshman of the year in her conference. She was also named the Division III west region Rookie of the Year as well as her college’s Newcomer of the Year. She ranked 4th among conference players in three point shooting percentage. As successful as she was last year, she’s looking to top that this coming season.