Meet the Lady Monarchs: Ivana Vukovic
Feb. 7, 2013
The term "student athlete" can often be misused or misleading in modern day college athletics. Being a "student athlete" is supposed to mean more than attending class only once a week and getting superfluous help from tutors in order to remain eligible to play that season. Many players and even some coaches sometimes forget to stress the importance of success in the classroom as well as achieving athletic excellence. That's exactly why it's so rare nowadays to discover an athlete whose superior athletic ability mirrors their academic brilliance.
Meet our ODU lady tennis Monarch Ivana Vukovic. Ivana is a 19 year old freshman sensation from Osijek, Croatia. This young Monarch is not only recognized for her superior play on the tennis court but her outstanding work in the classroom as well. We were able to get a moment with the humble tennis star for an interview. Ivana was more than willing to express her excitement as an ODU student as well as a member of our Women's tennis team.
"I love everything about ODU and have had a wonderful time in America so far."
Although Ivana is brand new to the United States, success has been no stranger to her. According to her profile, Ivana was ranked one of the top-50 academic students in all of Europe as well as being ranked top five in Croatia. Being able to maintain such a high academic standard from one country and language to another is no easy task.
"My biggest adjustment was getting used to studying in English as opposed to studying in Croatian back home."
It was fascinating to discover that Ivana is a civil engineering major taking 18 credits on top of staying committed to tennis. I think it's safe to say that Ivana has made that transition smoothly based on the fact that she earned a 4.0 GPA in her first semester this past fall.
Back in Croatia, Ivana was a 3 sport inner-county champion in not only tennis, but table-tennis and badminton as well. After asking Ivana if she could've pursued either of the other two sports, Vukovic noted there was another sport that peaked her interest,
"I was actually really into basketball growing up, tennis and basketball were my two favorite and strongest sports growing up so if I were to choose any other sport in would probably be basketball."
Let's not forget that this bright young student athlete is being recognized for her outstanding achievements thus far as an undefeated women's tennis player.
Ivana, along with junior teammates Nika Khmolovska (Ivana's doubles partner) and Melissa Esnal Olguin are the only females who have yet to lose a singles match this season. Ivana owns a record of 4-0 on the season winning her first four singles matches against Norfolk State's Laura Gutierrez (6-0, 6-1), Howard University's Umarah Mughee (6-0, 6-2), George Washington University's Mimi Hamling (7-5, 6-2), and UMBC's Heidi Danielson (7-5, 6-1). Earlier this fall, Ivana was also crowned the winner of the UVA invitational tournament.
It's truly inspiring to see that Old Dominion University was lucky enough to acquire a real authentic modern day student athlete. Although she's only a freshman, Ivana is an outstanding role model for all future collegiate athletes because she's aware that achieving success in the classroom is just as important as the results on the scoreboard. It looks as if this University has landed a promising tennis prodigy and an exceptional student athlete.
BY: Matt Stevens