Sometimes it just seems like time stands still. Waiting for special events like birthdays, holidays and graduations can often feel like those days will never get here.
But that really has not been the case for Northeastern boys’ volleyball standout Chris Lee in regards to his high school athletic career. Lee and teammate Reese Devilbiss were the only two of this year’s six seniors to have played in all four PIAA championship victories over the past four years.
So when it came time to reflect back on his incredible journey, Lee was amazed at just how quickly it has all gone by.
Celebrating at the beach with his other five senior teammates — Reese Devilbiss, Jeff Reynolds, Matt Schaeffer, Drew Landis and Brandon Arentz — Lee took some time off from having fun near Ocean City, Maryland to chat with us after his team claimed its fourth PIAA Class AA title in a row Saturday for this edition of Sports Q&A.
Question: Since coach told you Saturday that it was OK for you and your senior teammates to beat your chest a little, have you?
Lee: To be honest with you it hasn’t really hit me yet as to what we’ve accomplished. I haven’t really been able to beat my chest yet. But this is a humble group of guys. So even when (Coach Wilson) gives us the OK, we really won’t become over-confident about ourselves or cocky. That’s just not us and that’s not our motto.
Q: There were a lot of non-competitive games during this past season and Saturday’s game against Ambridge was not expected, by some, to be much of a challenge either. So did you actually have to break a sweat up in Rec Hall (at Penn State University, site of Saturday's PIAA title game)?
Lee: I did, mostly because it’s a really hot gym there at Rec Hall. I expected it to be a little cooler, but it was actually really hot. I was sweating a lot and had to drink a lot of water to keep myself hydrated. But Ambridge played a really great match and it was a lot of fun…a great last match for my high school volleyball career.
Q: Having played in all four state title games, did you have any special advice for the underclassman who will now have the chance to extend the streak to No. 5 in a row?
Lee: I would say that it goes by really fast. I know that I’ll never forget these last four years, but it does go by really fast so you have to take it all in and cherish every moment.
Q: Any good stories about Reese (Devilbiss) to share that maybe we don’t know about him off the volleyball court?
Lee: All I know is that he’s one of the hardest workers that I’ve ever met. I pride myself on my hard work, but Reese…he really doesn’t even compare. I’ll be at a basketball game and I’ll see him over by the door at the weight room. He’ll watch the game for a couple of minutes but then go back in to continue to work out. He’s always texting me and asking me to work out. Sometimes I’ll have to shoot him down, but he’s always there working out. He always wants to get in the gym and always wants to get better. He takes very few breaks and, luckily for him, he never really wears himself out. I really look up to him for that.
Q: So you’re going to the University of Delaware in the fall. Are you planning to play volleyball there?
Lee: I’m going to play club volleyball. They don’t really have a varsity team. But from what I heard I think they finished fifth at nationals, but I’m not 100 percent sure on that. But I’m going there to major in chemical engineering and also be on the pre-med track. I’m looking at different specialties. I’m not really sure what exactly but I’ll see in the future.
Q: In addition to being a four-time state champion in volleyball, you were also the class valedictorian, which is pretty impressive. Which is harder — school or volleyball?
Lee: Well honestly, I think that it’s not what is harder, it’s balancing the two that was the hardest for me. Balancing school, sports and a social life while maintaining good health is really the hardest thing for me. I’ve had to turn down my friends sometimes and make sacrifices along the way but it’s paid off in the end. I’ve always put my priorities ahead of other stuff. School came first and volleyball was second and those were my two main priorities and I made sure that I could accomplish everything that I could in both of those areas.
Q: What is your most memorable volleyball moment over these past four years?
Lee: I think it’s the last point in every one of those state championship volleyball games. The first one, the second one the third one and this one…I can remember them like the back of my hand. I replay those moments in my head all of the time. I’ll never forget them.