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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Senior women’s tennis player Natsumi Kurahashi talks about plans for the future

Baswanth Naidu
Natsumi Kurahashi swings for the ball during a set against Omaha at Genesis Rock Road in 2023.

Going into her final semester at Wichita State University, Natsumi Kurahashi already has plans ahead of her. Kurahashi is from Toyota, Japan, and is a redshirt senior on the women’s tennis team.

“After I graduate, I’m planning to go back to Japan,” Kurahashi said. “I already got a job, so I’ll go back and work in Japan.”

Kurahashi said she has a job lined up as an agent, and her roles include finding jobs for individuals or finding employees who would fit the company.

“The company I am going to is a little bit like a start-up company… it’s a little bit new, and it’s going to be a little busy as well,” Kurahashi said. “I’ve been playing tennis for like 18 years now … but I don’t really know the different side (of tennis) … I’m planning to learn about the business side.”

Kurahashi said her ultimate goal is to come back to tennis for coaching and to make tennis one of Japan’s major sports.

“I don’t know how to do it right now,” Kurahashi said. “So, I really want to figure it out … and then try to make it real.”

Tennis has impacted the life of Kurahashi in many ways. She said she was a shy, introverted person before picking up the sport. As she continued competing, she said she began to make friends and connections with her teammates and opponents on the court.

“Not only in my city, but outside of my city, like now it’s even outside of Japan,” Kurahashi said.

In her senior season, Kurahashi has become a vocal leader on the court for Wichita State.

When deciding to attend Wichita State, Kurahashi said she felt comfortable here.

“I had a choice of another school, which was in Las Vegas … but I felt a little bit uncomfortable … a little bit scared as well,” Kurahashi said. “I feel more safe (at Wichita State). The people here are really nice to me.”

Kurahashi said that the positive atmosphere and comfort she feels in Wichita have been reasons for her staying at the university.

As her final season as a Shocker winds down, Kurahashi said her goal for the team is to make it to the NCAA Tournament.

“I’ve been here five years, and it was always my biggest goal,” Kurahashi said. “I feel like this year, we have a chance to make it through as a team, so I’m really excited.”

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About the Contributors
Owen Prothro
Owen Prothro, Assistant Sports Editor
Owen Prothro is the assistant sports editor for The Sunflower. Prothro uses he/him pronouns. This is Prothro's second semester on staff. Prothro is pursuing a degree in journalism and media production. Prothro's dream job is to be an in-the-field reporter for the Disc Golf Pro Tour.
Baswanth Naidu
Baswanth Naidu, Photographer
Baswanth Naidu is a third-year photographer for The Sunflower.

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