Athlete of the Week: Mi Li, The First Academy golf

Meet TFA golfer Mi Li, who claimed her second consecutive 1A individual state championship.

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The First Academy’s Mi Li has been dominant on the golf course for the Royals’ girls team over the past two seasons, most recently leading them to a second-place finish at the FHSAA Class 1A state championships — falling to Florida Atlantic University High School by seven strokes. 

Li finished the tournament eight-under-par, shooting 136 over the two-round 36 hole-event, earning herself a second consecutive 1A individual state championship, topping FAU’s Kayla Bryant by one stroke. 

Last season, she shot a 66 (-5) over the 18-hole tournament to lead The First Academy to its fourth 1A team state championship in a six-year span and win her first individual crown. 

Her two individual state championships put her tied for the second-most in FHSAA history. With one more season to play, she could end her high school career as the joint leader for the most individual girls golf state championships in Florida history. She would join Beth Bauer, Constance Chillemi, Elizabeth Pooley and Morgan Pressel — all of whom won their three state titles before 2005.

The junior not only has been dominant on the Florida high school circuit, but she also has been making a name for herself on the American Junior Golf Association ranks. She currently is ranked 32nd in the Rolex AJGA Rankings and has played 12 events in 2023, finishing in the top 10 in half of them and in the top 20 in eight.

Her performance this season earned her the Florida Dairy Farmers Miss Golf Award. 


Sport: Golf

Grade:  Junior

School: The First Academy

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How does it feel to be named Athlete of the Week?

I would say I’m proud of myself, and I feel thankful to you all for choosing me as the Athlete of the Week.

What do you like the most about playing golf?

My favorite part would be playing in tournaments, because I actually enjoy competing with other players; it helps me understand where I need to improve.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from the sport of golf?

Stay calm, think only about your ball and play one shot at a time.

What is your favorite non-golf hobby?

I do art, sometimes.

What is your favorite subject in school? Why?

I really enjoy my art class, because I’m able to relax and also draw out things I like.

What are three things you would take with you to a deserted island? Why?

Fresh water, soap and a knife. Just the basic needs to survive.

What is your favorite movie?

I don’t really have one, kind of a little of everything.

If you could have dinner with one person — dead or alive — who would it be? Why?

I don’t really want to eat with anyone. It’s so awkward.

If you could go back in time to a specific period in history, when and where would you go? Why?

I would want to go back to one of my three putt moments, so I could make it.

Looking back, what piece of advice would you give your 10-year-old self?

Control your weight, eat more veggies, and you may be able to grow taller in the future. 

If you could ask your future self a question, what would it be?

What am I going to be doing for a living then?

Who is your favorite superhero?

I don’t really have one.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

I want to be able to talk to animals. 

What are three places you would like to visit?

My bed, bathroom and the kitchen.

If you could be an animal for a day, which one would you be and why?

Any kind of bird, so I can jump down from a tree without hurting myself.

Does pineapple belong on pizza?


To nominate an athlete for an upcoming Athlete of the Week story, please contact Orange Observer Sports Editor Sam Albuquerque at this email: [email protected]



Sam Albuquerque

A native of João Pessoa, Brazil, Sam Albuquerque moved in 1997 to Central Florida as a kid. After earning a communications degree in 2016 from the University of Central Florida, he started his career covering sports as a producer for a local radio station, ESPN 580 Orlando. He went on to earn a master’s degree in editorial journalism from Northwestern University, before moving to South Carolina to cover local sports for the USA Today Network’s Spartanburg Herald-Journal. When he’s not working, you can find him spending time with his lovely wife, Sarah, newborn son, Noah, and dog named Skulí.

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