Portland teen to compete in US Open Junior Wheelchair Championship

Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 5:55 AM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - In this High School Spotlight, FOX 12 meets an incoming freshman who is ranked number two in the world for wheelchair tennis.

Portland’s Maylee Phelps, 15, has met her match all around the globe.

“I have been to France, Sardinia, Italy, recently Portugal, the Netherlands and Belgium,” she said.

Adopted from China before the age of two, the home school freshman loves her role in the sport.

“It can help me teach other kids like me that you can do sports too and you can go far with it,” said Phelps.

Phelps’ spina bifida doesn’t slow her roll - dream and believe, see and achieve.

“I am trying to be a Paralympian, so I am trying to make the 2028 LA Paralympics, and so I am hoping that I will be able to go there,” she said.

The future is now for Phelps with a ticket to tennis paradise, competing at the US Open in New York, the first Grand Slam event in history to have a Junior Wheelchair division.

“I earned my way there through the rankings,” Phelps said. “I am proud of myself that I made it because just a few months ago, maybe last year, we had these team calls for Team USA, and one of my goals as to be in the top 10 of girls and I made it.”

Phelps’ coach, John Devorss, knows a star when he sees one.

“She just absorbs, you tell her something and it just takes a few times and she’s correcting it herself, which is a great characteristic of any athlete is just be really coachable,” Devorss said.

Phelps makes the trip south to meet Devorss in Salem three times a week. Devorss is a former standout from Sprague High School and the University of Oregon who became a US National wheelchair tennis coach a decade ago.

“There is a fire there and you can see it in her eyes,” said Devorss. “She’ll let you know. It’s her own unique way.”

“Sometimes I give a fist pump. Not like screaming, ‘let’s go,’” Phelps said.

Good luck to Phelps at the US Open in the Junior Wheelchair Championship!

If you think you or someone you know deserves a high school spotlight, please reach out to Nick Krupke at nick.krupke@kptv.com.