A new journey: Olivia Drake chooses Coker University


Courtesy of Olivia Drake

This year, Coker University gained a star student and tennis player. NC senior Olivia Drake decided to attend the college where she will play D2 tennis on a women’s tennis scholarship. She also plans on studying physical education.

Ren Lloyd

As the school year comes to an end, seniors turn their full attention to choosing colleges. NC senior and varsity tennis player, Olivia Drake, embarks on the next chapter of her young life; college. Beginning in the fall, Drake will play D2 tennis at Coker University in Hartsville, South Carolina. 

Drake considered numerous factors when looking at colleges: population, location, size, and scholarship money. The  different tennis teams and coaches played a key part in her decision. She observed how each college’s coach interacted with their players, the way the team interacted with each other, and whether the coach looked out for their player’s needs.

“I fell in love with the campus, I was looking for a small campus because I like to know where everything is. The campus is so pretty and there’s a lot of stuff to do there,” Drake said. 

After endless college visits, Drake discovered Coker University. The small, private institution checked all of her boxes. The small size of the college, the tennis team’s atmosphere, the diversity of the team, and the tennis coach led her to gravitate towards this college. The coach, William Simpson, then offered her a women’s tennis scholarship which she enthusiastically accepted. Drake chose a D2 tennis option because it gave her more room to explore her options but play tennis at the same time.

NC prepared her for her future on the tennis court.  With support from her family, friends, teammates, and teachers, Drake built a strong foundation for her future beyond the walls of NC. Her mom even coached her in varsity tennis for all four years. She used NC as a foundation for finding a college. She chose Coker University because of the tight-knit community and the easy-to-navigate campus.

“I cannot imagine having a better staff. My teachers over the years have really helped me. Even through tough times, they helped me so much. They gave me really good education and support. They never gave up on me,” Drake said.

With the last few weeks of her high school career coming to a close, Olivia Drake hopes to leave her mark on NC. Drake plans to pursue her tennis career at Coker University while majoring in physical education. 

 “The legacy I want to leave at North Cobb is being on the varsity team for four years and making it to the Elite Eight twice in the four years. Also, to never give up, cause there are always ways to improve and get to where you need to go,” Drake said.