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Hawkeye tennis transfer adjusts to his new school

BY KEVIN GLUECK | NOVEMBER 06, 2012 6:30 AM

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It took two years to get here, but junior Juan Estenssoro is happy that he’s finally found himself at Iowa.

Last August, Estenssoro transferred from Wichita State, where he spent his first two years playing tennis for the Shockers. Estenssoro had wanted to attend Iowa, but he was not accepted when he first applied.

Estenssoro, originally from Bolivia, said he has long wanted to play college tennis in the United States. He traveled to Denver to take intensive English classes after graduating from high school.

There, he met Iowa men’s tennis assistant coach Steve Nash, who had flown in to watch the Bolivian play a match.

“They wanted me and gave me an offer,” Estenssoro said. “I pretty much accepted, but they couldn’t send me the papers to sign until I passed my English test.”

Potential UI students must pass a 30-minute writing test, 45-minute reading test, 30-minute listening and note-taking test, and a 15-minute oral interview to be accepted.

The UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences website states that students whose first language is not English must “study without being hindered by language problems, understand class lecture and discussions, and participate successfully in class discussions.”

Estenssoro’s younger brother, Andres Estenssoro, is also a student at the UI and fellow tennis player. While they went to school together back in Bolivia, this is the first campus where they’ve had class together.

“When we’re together, we just talk to each other because we’re talking in Spanish,” Andres Estenssoro said and laughed. “We talk about the same things like tennis and engineering. It’s a good combination.”

Juan Estenssoro has encountered quite a change of scenery when he moved from the 330-acre Wichita State campus to the 1,900-acre campus of the UI.

“I didn’t need buses to go from one class to another one. Everything was very near,” he said. “The school facilities are beautiful compared to what I could have back home [in Bolivia]. I really like the fact that I’m at such a nice campus.”

Estenssoro has also taken a liking to something else Wichita State didn’t offer: American football.

“My first time at a football game was here,” Estenssoro said. “I love it; it’s a really nice experience. I’m a fan of the football team even though we’re struggling.”

The junior hasn’t been academically eligible this semester because of a lack of credits transferring from Wichita State, but that hasn’t affected how he’s practiced this fall.

“There’s nothing I can do; it’s not the fault of my coaches,” he said. “I just have to keep moving forward and practicing hard and do my job.”

One of those things that help push him in practice is tussling with his brother every day.

“It’s really competitive sometimes,” Andres said. “We have fun, but I always try to do better than him, and he always tries to do better than me.”

Head coach Steve Houghton says that Juan Estenssoro has the right personality to handle sitting out a semester.

“He was disappointed to find out he couldn’t play this semester, but I think he’s handled it well as anyone else could handle it,” Houghton said. “He’s a very self-motivated guy … he knows he needed to make significant improvements.”


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