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Haal excels everywhere, from tennis court to 3.97 GPA

BY AMIE KIEHN | MARCH 11, 2009 7:17 AM

Court Eight in the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex has garnered a lot of attention throughout the spring tennis season. The painted asphalt has been worn down by Iowa’s Reinoud Haal during the Hawkeyes’ six home matches.

For the tall and lean junior, Court Eight remains his territory on game days as he plays No. 2 doubles and No. 3 singles on the hard surface.

Despite consistently competing in long, high-pressure matches, his calm demeanor has assisted him with his work ethic on the court.

“He’s very steady. He’s got a great mental game,” Iowa junior Tommy McGeorge said. “He doesn’t let much bother him, and I think it wears on guys. If you can see, he has played a lot of long matches and won most of them because he sticks with it.”

The Netherlands native’s resoluteness has also helped him dominate in the classroom. Haal, who is currently taking 18 semester hours, has maintained a 3.97 GPA as a finance major in the Tippie College of Business, alongside his 20-plus-hour tennis schedule.

“I do sleep,” Haal said. “I mean, school is going pretty easy for me, but I do have to work for it. Finance is not an easy major, so it is not like I am just sitting around and it’s all coming to me.

“I do have to work for it.”

Head coach Steve Houghton has had a long history of players excelling in academics. Last season, six Hawkeyes were named academic All-Big Ten — Haal, McGeorge, Patrick Dwyer, Greg Holm, Mat Sawin, and Bart von Monsjou.

“We’ve had a lot of really good students over the years, but I think [Haal] is in the upper echelon,” Houghton said. “He’s in a tough area in business, and he’s already getting interviews from very good companies, especially these days economically, it is really impressive the interviews he’s getting.

“He has just been an exceptionally good student since he’s been here, and he doesn’t do it by taking easy classes or by taking minimal hours — he really goes full blast on it.”

Although Haal spoke little English when he arrived in Iowa City for his freshman year, in 2006, his English is now sharp and succinct.

Haal once recruited Dwyer to help him with his homework, but that didn’t last for too long.

“I will go to him to edit my English papers now,” Dwyer said jokingly. “Freshman year, he would come to us. After a few months, you realized you really couldn’t help him anymore.”

Haal’s steady work ethic has made him a staunch opponent on the court and a champion in the classroom. According to Dwyer, Haal has no limits.

“I mean, if you are getting a Dutch kid to come over from his own country, to come and get A-pluses in American law classes, you know you’ve got a pretty smart kid on your hands,” Dwyer said.


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