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Excelling in all Arenas

The multitalented Lorenzo Arenas does many things well, including playing football for North Medford

Lorenzo Arenas is an accomplished pianist, an aspiring actor and an exemplary student at North Medford High.

He's also a three-time national champion boxer at the ripe, old age of 16.

But one look at the 6-foot-2, 260-pound junior and you might assume he plays football for the Black Tornado.

— He does that, too.

The multitalented, multifaceted Arenas plays in the shadow of fellow lineman David Faaeteete, who has been offered a scholarship to play football at the University of Oregon.

But according to North Medford coach John Beck, Arenas also has the ability to play at the major college level.

He's got another year to develop but he's got the talent to play college football at the highest level, Beck says. When we went to the Nike Combine in Beaverton last summer, he was easily the top junior lineman there.

Arenas draws similar praise from Jimmy Pedrojetti, the Bulldog Boxing Club manager and trainer who watched Arenas win his second title at the Silver Gloves National Tournament in Olathe, Kan., last February.

Arenas dominated the super heavyweight division for 14- and 15-year-olds, whipping three-time national champion Devon Burrage of Cleveland, Ohio, along the way.

He's a great boxer, says Pedrojetti, who also saw Arenas win a Junior Golden Gloves title at age 11 and another Silver Gloves crown at 13. He has as much potential as any kid in our gym. If he stuck with boxing ... he could be rated in the top 10 (among all amateurs) right now. I mean, he's only had like 12 fights, and he's still won three national titles.

But as much as Arenas excels in athletics ' he was also a standout wrestler until giving up that sport last year ' he's equally competent on the stage and the piano keyboard.

Football got in the way of Arenas performing in this fall's school play, Inherit the Wind, but he drew rave reviews for his supporting role in The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail last winter.

And talk to anyone at First Presbyterian Church in Medford who has heard Arenas perform at one of their recitals and they'll tell you he's lights-out on the piano.

You look at this huge guy with those big hands and you wouldn't think he'd have a nice, light touch on the piano, but he does, says Teena Anderson, who has been giving Arenas lessons for the past four years. I don't have to work with him on his technique. He plays it beautifully.

Arenas plays at a fairly advanced level six and is currently learning to play Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, Anderson says.

That's a difficult piece to play, but Lorenzo is learning it, Anderson says. He tends to memorize his music and that helps him to perform.

Playing the piano is far different than throwing a block or making a tackle in the middle of the line, Arenas admits.

Football is always intense, and playing the piano is always relaxing, he says. They're so different, but I love doing them both.

Arenas used to be reluctant to tell his football teammates that he plays the piano, but not any longer.

They respect it and are a little envious about it, I think, he says.

They also respect Arenas on the gridiron, where he teams with fellow guard Faaeteete, center Johnny Vaigafa and tackles Frank Clifton and Tim Endicott to form one of the best offensive lines in the state.

Arenas injured his back going against the 278-pound Faaeteete and the 296-pound Vaigafa two weeks ago in practice.

David kind of stood me up and Johnny nailed me in the back, says Arenas, who has bench-pressed 385 pounds and hoisted 595 pounds on the squat rack. My legs went numb for a second or two, and I've been a little sore ever since.

Arenas expects to be at or near full strength for tonight's game against Crater.

Needless to say, that's music to the ears of the Tornado coaches.

Besides being a standout on the football team, North Medford?s Lorenzo Arenas is an accomplished pianist, boxer and aspiring actor. Mail Tribune / Jim Craven - Mail Tribune Jim Craven