5 STUDENT ATHLETES OF INTEREST
BY GREG GARDNER
Ever since he could hold a racket,
Andrew Butz dreamed in orange
and blue of playing tennis
for the University of Florida.
Now, after thousands of
hours of practice and competition, the St.
Edward’s senior is just months away from
joining the UF varsity tennis team as a freshman.
This fall Butz will be leaving his Vero
Beach bedroom with its orange walls, blue
carpet and ubiquitous Gator memorabilia.
“I’ve seen him grow from a punk little kid
to who he is today,” says Butz’s coach, Dave
Bode, tennis professional at The Moorings.
“I’ve known him eight years. He sacrificed
a lot for tennis, the social goings-on with
kids. On the weekends he is playing tennis
or at a tournament. He’s done well in being
able to balance school, tennis and his social
life. Most kids at his level would have been
at an academy, home-schooled or no school
“Trying to keep my grades up is hard to
keep up with, but I manage,” says Butz.
“It’s a tough school St. Edward’s. My
mom always got me a tutor. My dad has always
set up tournaments for me, and I just
go and play. I want to get to the next level
and my parents motivate me. I just beat two
of the top junior players in the world.”
Last year as a junior, Butz was the top
high school player in the state. He has
won 11 awards for high school tennis and
reached the finals, semifinals and quarterfinals
in 19 nonschool tournaments, playing
singles and doubles.
Butz has played in tournaments since
he was 9 years old. He was ranked No. 1
in Florida for boys 12 and under, 14 and
under, and 16 and under. He is currently
ranked No. 8 in 18 and under and hopes to
repeat as the top high school singles player.
“He is obviously one of our top athletes,”
says Michele Sternberg, director of college
counseling at St. Edward’s. “Andrew is a
great role model for the other kids on the
team. He will sit out so someone else can
play, but he will be there for the team. He
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