Sussex Tech’s Nathan Hanenfeld has been running a business since middle school.
So when it came time to decide on a university to continue his education and lacrosse career, Hanenfeld took, well, a very business-like approach.
Weighing his options, Hanenfeld focused on a college that could help him build a successful career in business management, play lacrosse for four more years and finally be a pretty cool place to live.
After some time, Catawba College in the South Atlantic Conference, was the perfect fit for Hanenfeld, who signed his national letter of intent in November.
“I’m really excited,” he said. “I’ve been looking for a university that would fit me the best, and I found that I like the Carolinas the best. If I’m going to be that far away from home, I might as well find a school I enjoy and really want to be around a team environment.”
Being a defender is one of the reasons Hanenfeld fell in love with lacrosse from a young age, starting in the seventh grade his parents drove 40 minutes to play at the Salisbury Lacrosse Club.
Hanenfeld’s large frame will be hunkered down in front of his college’s net, but the senior also plays midfield for the Ravens.
“I like that it’s a fast-paced game,” he said. “I like beating on people.”
From the moment John and Julie Hanenfeld gave their son a stick — quickly throwing a helmet on him because of the fear of knocking out teeth — he loved lacrosse.
His parents didn’t picture their son going on to play in college right away, but once Hanenfeld started playing for the Long Island Sting the family started the process of looking for a college.
On the day he finally signed the papers, John and Julie Hanenfeld couldn’t have been more proud.
“There’s nothing better than having a student-athlete going to college and having a coach looking over his shoulder and having 50 buddies built in,” John Hanenfeld said.
They were not worried about Nathan traveling far away either, as long as it involved academics, too.
“I always told him, ‘Wherever you got to college, you have to spend 10 months of your life at beside playing lacrosse,’ ” John said. “If you look at Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh, that is a booming market. Odds are, employment opportunities are far greater there.”
Nathan will enroll in the three plus two program, allowing him to get his MBA in five years.
From mowing commercial lawns to stringing lacrosse heads for money, the realistic possibility of Nathan owning a business is starting to look real.
“This natural transition of going into college, and going into business and possibly starting his own business and getting to play lacrosse along the way, is just a win-win situation,” Julie Hanenfeld said.
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