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Lenoir-Rhyneâ€™s Carlee Carpenter left an impressive record in her athletic career at Bandys. The accomplished softball player also left her mark on the state record books. Carpenter set the North Carolina record for career triples â€“ the hardest type of hit to earn in softball â€“ her senior year with the Trojans.
â€śI really donâ€™t have a clue how that happened,â€ť she said.
Carpenter was voted as The Observer News Enterpriseâ€™s Female Athlete of the Decade presented by Dan Waters and Associates. Carpenter was nominated and voted on by readers of The O-N-E.
â€śItâ€™s definitely an honor to know you are noticed and recognized by the people in the county,â€ť Carpenter said. â€śIâ€™ve been out of high school three years, and itâ€™s hard to believe people still remember. Itâ€™s a humbling experience.â€ť
Carpenter, a rising junior at L-R, plays second base for the Bears. She said it was an easy choice to play for the Bears even though she sometimes gets some ribbing from her teammates about being so close to home.
â€śWe had a girl from Florida and girls from Georgia, Virginia and Tennessee, and they all laugh at me when I say Iâ€™m going home for the weekend,â€ť Carpenter said. â€śMy home and their homes are completely different. My home is only 20 minutes down the road. I like being local because you always have connection with people with their background and the same outlook on things.â€ť
She spent her pre-college softball career with only one coach â€“ her father Mike. Carpenter said Mike Carpenter coached her all the way from tee-ball through all four years in high school. Carlee Carpenter was an all-conference softball and volleyball player four years at Bandys, and she was a three-time, all-state softball selection. She also is an all-conference and all-region college softball player.