‘More Comfortable:’ Natsumi Kurahashi emerges as a leader for women’s tennis

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Mia Hennen / The Sunflower

Redshirt senior Natsumi Kurahashi prepares to hit the ball during a doubles match against Houston last season.

Natsumi Kurahashi began her senior year by going undefeated in her first tournament of the season in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Kurahashi started playing tennis at the age of five because her parents wanted her to.  She quickly fell in love with the sport and once she was ready to choose a college she decided on Wichita State because of the atmosphere.

Kurahashi is from Toyota, Japan and she said that in Japan you have to choose to either focus on academics or sports. “I wanted to focus more on tennis and then, in addition, I can study,” Kurahashi said. 

 Kurahashi is an exercise science major hoping to someday use her degree to be a coach or an athletic trainer.

Being an international student brings some difficulties.

“The biggest difficulty for me is the language,” Kurahashi said. “English, yeah I’m not good at English. I’ve been studying English for six years. I can read and write really easily, but I’m not good at speaking and listening. I like the food here and I like the people, it’s just communication I find hard,” Kurahashi said.

Head Coach Colin Foster has been coaching Kurahashi since her freshman year 

“Not only as a player but as a person she’s become so much more comfortable and confident in herself on the court and off the court as a leader, and in her classes,” Foster said. 

Kurahashi is a four-time Athletic Director’s Honor Roll qualifier the last four semesters and an Intercollegiate Tennis Association Scholar-Athlete.