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Teen athlete excels in boxing and hockey

In this 2013 photo, Amy Lemenager, left, hits mits with Paloma White while training at Lorenzi's Boxing Gym. (File photo by Clint Austin)1 / 3
Amy Lemenager in her Proctor hockey uniform. (Photo submitted)2 / 3
Josh Moore, business manager, and Joe Lorenzi, owner/head coach, at the grand opening of Lorenzi’s Boxing on May 2. The boxing gym recently moved from Lincoln Park to Proctor. “We outgrew our old location and Proctor has a rich boxing history,” Lorenzi said. (Photo by Naomi Yaeger) 3 / 3

Balancing sports is hard, but balancing two incredibly demanding ones is harder. Amy Lemenager, a junior at Proctor High School, is a boxer and also a goalie for the Proctor-Hermantown Mirage varsity girls hockey team.

Lemenager has been playing hockey for nine years. About five years ago she found out she had hypothyroidism (low activity of the thyroid gland), resulting in slow development. It made it difficult for her to control her weight.

"At that point I made a commitment to a rigorous exercise regimen," Lemenager said. "I began looking at different options for joining a gym and I decided to try a boxing workout, due to its reputation for being one of the best workouts for getting (and) staying in shape. I visited Lorenzi's Boxing and I immediately knew this is the gym I wanted to belong to."

After working out for about six months, Lemenager became interested in the sport itself and got permission from her parents to try scrimmaging. Sometimes she would come from a long hockey practice after school and go straight to boxing practice for a few hours. So far she has had six official fights and has won every single one.

"I utilize boxing not only to stay in shape, but also to help my hockey game," Lemenager said. "The rush I get from fighting is similar to the rush I get from playing goalie. Boxing also helps my hand/eye coordination, my focus and my stamina."

Paul and Margaret Lemenager, Amy's parents, had initial concerns about letting their daughter climb into the ring.

"We wanted to make sure we had done our research," Paul Lemenager said. "According to the studies, at the amateur level it's one of the safest sports. Of course we're nervous to see our daughter in combat, but it's a very safe sport and we support her and encourage her to follow her dreams."

Josh Moore has been coaching Amy at Lorenzi's for the past three years.

"She's a great kid," Moore said. "She works hard and is a great example. She's basically been leading our kids' class over the past few weeks with Joe (Lorenzi) and in setting up the new gym up here."

Lorenzi's Boxing recently opened up a new gym in Proctor.

"It's really nice being up here," Lemenager said. "I go to school at Proctor High School, so it's really close and it feels like our home now. They don't have any of the bags up and it's not completely ready, but it was good to get in here and have fights."

As one of the few female boxers in the area, Lemenager has struggled to find opponents.

"I could have had a lot more fights than I do now," Lemenager said. "There's not that many girls that fight ... they have to be within a year of (my) age and within my weight class."

"I spar boys. It's not allowed for girls to officially fight boys but I do well," Lemenager said. "They treat me no differently than other sparring partners."

Lemenager has big plans for her future. She has a scholarship to play college hockey at Bethel University after she graduates in 2016 and plans to fight for a boxing national championship next summer.

"I have had great teammates that I have forged very strong friendships with and great hockey and boxing coaches that have not only taught me how to excel at my sport, but also taught me valuable life lessons," Lemenager said.

Solveig Rennan is a junior at East High School and interned for the Budgeteer in  2014. If you have an idea for a teen athlete profile, email budgeteer@duluthbudgeteer.com.

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