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Senior Hawkeye tennis player leads squad by example

BY KEVIN GLUECK | AUGUST 31, 2012 6:30 AM

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Garret Dunn, who stands 6-8, is often mistaken for a basketball player.

But the senior is proving to be a great leader on and off a different kind of court at the start of his last Hawkeye campaign: the tennis court.

His academic achievements, along with his success in tennis, are setting an example for the rest of the squad. He earned the title of the Iowa men’s tennis team captain for the upcoming season.

Dunn attended Corona del Sol High School in Tempe, Ariz., but he had a connection to the UI.

“My mom actually went to Iowa for her undergrad. She grew up here, so we kind of had a family connection,” Dunn said. “When I was being recruited, I just kept that in mind and looked at Iowa.”

He considered staying close to home at the University of Arizona but changed his mind late in his recruitment.

“There was something about Iowa that made me want to come here at the last minute,” he said. “It was a good decision.”

He is a standout academically and has double majors in accounting and finance. He was named to the Capital One Academic All-District Team by the College Sports Information Directors of America in May because of his 4.0 grade-point average.

“I’ve always been pretty focused on school,” he said. “I like being busy. I want to give 100 percent effort to whatever I do.”

Assistant coach Steve Nash said Dunn acts as a leader for the team by example.

“He doesn’t really push guys unless they need to be pushed. He does everything right,” Nash said. “He does everything a coach would want.”

Teammate and doubles partner Michael Swank agrees with Nash on Dunn’s ability to lead the team.
“He really gets people to rally around him due to the things he does on the court. He’s an easy guy to follow.”

Dunn says he wants the team to improve on last year and the rough season (1-22 overall, 0-11 Big Ten) the squad went through should help the team mature.

“Last season, we definitely didn’t have the best team results,” Dunn said.  “We have a lot of talented guys, and we’re a lot deeper this year, and so that’s definitely something we can improve on.”

He hopes that last year and this fall can be a springboard leading into the spring Big Ten schedule.
“A lot of the young guys last year learned from experience, and we can kind of bounce back from that last year,” Dunn said. “We have the whole fall to work through a lot of the kinks and make sure everyone gets a lot of the competition he needs. By the time the spring comes around, we should be ready to improve and do better than we did last year.”

Dunn is also focused on making steady progress from last year, which included a flight win at the Drake Invitational in Des Moines.

“It’s always a good thing to win a flight at a tournament,” Dunn said. “I feel like I improved a lot from sophomore to junior year. I’m just hoping to make a similar jump from junior to senior year.”


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