Junior makes school tennis history

Natalie Lorentz becomes first to compete in state competition


Harrison Barden

Junior Natalie Lorentz returns the ball during a match against Minneapolis Washburn Oct. 7. The team won 4-3.

Jonah Kupritz

According to girls’ tennis coach Dave Breitenbucher, one of the greatest feats in Park athletics will take place as junior Natalie Lorentz becomes the first student — male or female — to play in the state tennis tournament

“It’s actually one of the most incredible things that I think has happened in St. Louis Park sports,” Breitenbucher said. “We’ve never had a male or female go to the state tournament.”

Breitenbucher said he believes Lorentz’s dedication to improving during and outside of the season brought her to this point.

“Natalie put a ton of time into tennis. I’ve hardly coached any athletes that put more time into their sport than Natalie has,” Breitenbucher said.

Lorentz said qualifying for the state competition did not come easily, which makes competing at state all-the-more gratifying.

“I’m excited,” Lorentz said. “I feel I have worked really hard this whole season to get where I am right now.”

Despite the pressure of being the first Park tennis player to make it to the state tournament, Lorentz said she does not feel very worried about competing.

“To be honest, I’m not that nervous,” Lorentz said. “It’s my first time going to state so I don’t have anything to lose.”

Lorentz said, in addition to the work she put in, the support of her teammates has played an instrumental role in helping her get to state.

“If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be where I am,” Lorentz said. “They constantly reassured me that I could achieve my goals.”

Breitenbucher said he feels grateful for having the opportunity to work with Lorentz during the tennis seasons, although her success resulted mostly from her own determination.

“I’m very fortunate to have coached Natalie over the years. I think you could put a lot of people in my shoes and Natalie still would have had the success that she’s had. She’s put the time in and I’m very fortunate to be along for the ride,” Breitenbucher said.

Lorentz plays Samantha Nichols 8 a.m. Oct. 28 at the Baseline Tennis Center at the University of Minnesota. If she beats Nichols, she will go on to play Haylee Haakenstad, the top girls’ tennis player in the state, 12 p.m. the same day.