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Hawkeye tennis star Estenssoro ends up where he wanted to be all along

BY DOMINICK WHITE | FEBRUARY 21, 2013 5:00 AM

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Journeyman Juan Estenssoro has found a place to call home in Iowa City. Estenssoro’s route to becoming a Division 1 athlete was far from ordinary, taking lots of twists and turns along the way.

Estenssoro was born on Jan. 1, 1991, in Bolivia. The country is divided into nine departments, and there are numerous providences within each department. Estenssoro lived in Santa Cruz de La Sierra, a providence of the Santa Cruz, which is the most populated city in the country.

In high school, Estenssoro was said to be a fierce tennis player. He attended Santa Cruz International School, where he was the Junior National Champion of Bolivia three times in his career. Estenssoro won Bolivia’s Juniors National title when he was 12, 16, and 18 years old.

After graduating, Estenssoro decided to continue his tennis career and further his education. He initially wanted to attend the University of Iowa. However, there were some complications in the recruitment process.

“When I graduated from high school my English was very bad,” Estenssoro said. “So I went to Denver to an ESL (English as a Second Language) school to study English for four to five months. My English improved, but I didn’t pass the University of Iowa’s English test, so I wasn’t accepted into the school.”

Estenssoro was disappointed that he wasn’t admitted to Iowa. With that in mind, he still had goals of playing college tennis while receiving a higher education. He decided to accept a scholarship at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kan.

Estenssoro went on to achieve a lot of success in his first two years with the Shockers. In his first season on campus, he posted a 10-2 mark for the spring season. During his sophomore season, he went 19-3 and he was named to the Missouri Valley All Conference team.

Despite the success, things didn’t seem to be working out for Estenssoro at Wichita State. He had conflicts with the coach, and decided to request a release from his scholarship. While looking for a new school, Estenssoro’s first choice was the Hawkeyes.

His brother, Andres, joined the Iowa tennis team in the fall of 2011. Andres Estenssoro encouraged his brother to join him in Iowa City after Juan Estenssoro restarted his recruiting process. Because coaches couldn’t talk to Juan Estenssoro until he was officially released from his scholarship, Andres did most of his brother’s recruiting.

“I told him that the best decision he can make was to come to Iowa,” Andres Estenssoro said.

Fortunately, Iowa’ head coach Steve Houghton was looking to add a transfer player in the fall of 2012, while Juan Estenssoro was looking to add a new team. The second time around things worked out, as Juan Estenssoro became a member of the Hawkeye’s tennis team last fall.

Juan said he is happy with his decision to transfer to Iowa. Overall, he likes the college town atmosphere that the city has to offer. He’s pursuing his goal of obtaining a higher education by studying industrial engineering. Juan Estenssoro has enjoyed some early season success for the Hawkeyes by posting a 4-2 record during singles play. Additionally, he has formed a strong relationship with his teammates on and off the court.

“On the court Juan is consistent as he’s very even keeled the entire match,” Hawkeye captain Garret Dunn said. “He’s a good role model for a lot of guys on the team, especially coming in as a transfer. He’s fit in well. Juan’s a good guy to be around on and off the court.”


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