California girl at heart, Natalie Byrne, achieves her lifelong dream


Natalie Byrne, junior, played midfield position at the state championship game on May 20. Byrne will be attending her dream college, University of Southern California after receiving a scholarship before her sophomore year.

Walking along the sandy beaches, laying poolside and playing her favorite sport are just some of the numerous activities Natalie Byrne, junior, looks forward to enjoying during her college years.

With her lifelong goal of attending the University of Southern California, never did Byrne expect to attain her dream as a sophomore. Shortly after attending USC’s lacrosse summer camp before her sophomore year, Byrne was offered a scholarship to her dream school, USC.

“My dad was with me when the coach offered me a scholarship. I looked at him and could see that he was so proud of me,” Byrne said. “We both held in our excitement and after the coach left I jumped into his arms and a couple tears streamed down his face.”

After receiving the news Byrne called her mom right away.

“There was a long pause on the phone when I told her the news,” Byrne said. “She just cried from joy and happiness.”

Byrne started playing lacrosse in grade 5 after being inspired by her older brother, Sean Byrne, class of 2012, she loved the intensity and the speed of the game and liked the idea of being able to hit people.

“I remember playing my first game ever. I was so nervous but then I scored five goals and I just fell in love,” Byrne said.

Byrne’s brother was a recruited athlete, so when she was young she would tag along to his recruiting visits. She was always interested in USC.

“It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I went to their camp and I stayed on the campus for a few nights, I fell in love with everything,” Byrne said. “The campus, the beaches, Los Angeles, the girls on the team, the coaches, the atmosphere and the California lifestyle.”

Byrne’s biggest inspiration is her older brother.

“We have always been each other’s number one fans,” Byrne said. “He goes to the Air Force Academy and I’m so proud of everything he has accomplished.”

Training is a year-round commitment. In the summer she plays with her club team, Ore. elite, and runs hills with weight bags at Rosemont Middle School. She also lifts in the weight room and plays wall ball. During the winter, Byrne conditions using a program called Twist.

Byrne is looking forward to being a student athlete at USC as well as being able to play her favorite sport, attending school and living in California.

“I’m definitely nervous about balancing lacrosse with academics and social life in college.” Byrne said. “But that’s what all college students struggle with.”

Byrne plans to study sports medicine.

“I am super interested in becoming a physical therapist or a trainer for a team,” Byrne said.

During her free time, Byrne enjoys hanging out with her friends and doing fun things with them like hiking, camping and tubing.

“In my free time I’m usually working out or spending time with my family and my two best friends, Leah Olson, (junior) and McKenzie Hill, (freshman)” Byrne said. “My friends and family mean so much to me and I wouldn’t have accomplished anything without their love and support.”

Despite taking difficult courses such as, AB Calculus, Spanish four and Honors Law B, Byrne doesn’t struggle with balancing school, lacrosse and friends.
“I kinda just go with the flow and how my schedule is and deal with it,” Byrne said, “I can get pretty overwhelmed sometimes but my family and friends are always there to calm me down and encourage me.”