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Athletes of the Month: Natalie Petit & Tyler Lehman

Natalie Petit

Natalie Petit

A transfer student from Priest River Lamanna High School, Natalie Petit, a senior, plays basketball and softball for the Bulldogs. She had played both sports in Priest River since her freshman year, and she said it was an amazing experience that, once she came to Sandpoint, both the Bulldog teams for which she played ended up going to state.

Natalie shares that one of the biggest challenges she has encountered was transferring schools. “I came from a 3A school and moved up to a 4A school in the blink of an eye,” said Natalie, acknowledging that it was more competitive at her new school. “I overcame the challenges with the help of my teams, family and coaching staff. They played a big part in helping me get to where I am now.”

Natalie said that she enjoys softball because of the team and the challenges the sport has brought her. “The team ends up becoming my family, and that is something I can never forget. And the challenges are that I have to push myself in order to obtain and keep my spot on the field.”

Natalie hopes to play softball in college, but if not, she plans to attend North Idaho College where she will study criminal justice. After that, she plans to enlist in the army and complete her education.

She is interested in a career in law-enforcement and said she wants to be in a position where she can help others.

Natalie is grateful for the coaches she has had throughout her athletic career. She shares a life lesson she learned from her former basketball coach, Gary Stewart—to never give up. “Even though he never directly said that to me, it was implied in everything he said.” said Natalie.

Tyler Lehman

Tyler Lehman

Sandpoint junior Tyler Lehman has been a three-year starter on the Bulldog’s varsity baseball team and started in the first game that Sandpoint has played at state in 12 years. Not only a standout on the baseball field, Tyler has been the starting outside linebacker on the Sandpoint High School Bulldogs’ football team since his sophomore year.

He shares that his biggest challenge has always been learning to accept that he won’t be the best athlete. “There will always be someone bigger and faster that can throw harder and hit further,” said Tyler. But that does not stop him from striving to be the best he can be.

What Tyler loves about the game of baseball is that it’s not all about athleticism. “It’s about hard work. The mental side of the game is so much more important than the physical,” said Tyler. His post high school plans include becoming a biochemical engineer. He hopes to play baseball at the collegiate level, and although he does not know where that will be at this time, he prefers to be somewhere close to home.

“I have always been interested in chemistry, and more specifically, what life forms are made up of chemically. I would like to research things such as how to cure cancer and how algae can be used as biofuel,” said Tyler of his career plans.

Tyler says being involved with sports has provided him with the tools to interact better with people. “I’ve played with all different types of personalities, and I have understood how to speak to them in moments when they’re unhappy or angry with themselves. I have learned how to calm them down and refocus them.”

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