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The Sunflower

From the tennis court to the workplace

C. Conner Clapham

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Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams can boast their recent success this season. Each having won their respective Missouri Valley Conference championships, both are set to play in the NCAA tournament. This success is largely due to the senior leadership on both teams.

Abby Stevens and Tin Ostojic are a couple of those senior leaders, each with their own distinct background. Growing up in Wichita, WSU has always been close to Stevens’ heart, with Ostojic, on the other hand, growing up in Zagreb, Croatia.

Stevens chose to play tennis at Wichita State because of its strong athletics program. She stated that she wanted to become as good as possible in order to pay for her college and for the love she has for the game.

After she graduates, Stevens hopes to find a career in physical education that will allow her to pursue her passion and teach kids about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Ostojic chose Wichita State because of his best friend, who was on the tennis team at the time. Ostojic was hoping for them to eventually team up.

He stated that the process of moving away from his family was challenging for him. The hardest part, he said, was the fact that most people could drive back to their hometown while he was limited to only summer visits back to Croatia.

After he graduates, Ostojic plans on staying in Wichita to get an internship. He is undecided on where he wants to work. As for tennis, his decision remains simple.

“I’m still definitely going to play, you know, tennis has had a very big impact on my life,” said Ostojic. “Probably the people I’m going to work with are going to be some tennis guys and everything so it’s definitely going to be helpful.”

Stevens is one of the four American players on her team of eleven. Ostojic is one of seven international players on his team of nine.

Stevens said she was at first unsure she would get along with her foreign teammates, but that feeling changed quickly.

“Being on a team with few Americans has given me so much perspective,” Stevens said. “Learning about different cultures and being able to talk about the world has expanded my worldview and encouraged me to learn more about other cultures.”

Ostojic said he was feeling a similar way.

“It was a little bit difficult, but traveling with the tennis team made it easier for me to get used to it, so it wasn’t as hard an adjustment for me,” Ostojic said. 

Stevens and Ostojic agreed that the biggest difference between being a student athlete and a normal student is the traveling that comes with it.

“We travel all across America, like, we went to Texas, we went to California, Las Vegas, Virginia, Florida,” said Ostojic. “Tennis takes you a lot of places and I love to travel so I think that was the most interesting (thing about being a student-athlete).”

Stevens finished out her career as a two-time MVC regular-season champion, two-time MVC tournament-champion, and a two-time NCAA Tournament qualifier, among other awards.

Ostojic shared similar success, being a two-time selection to the All-MVC Select Team, and won the first NCAA individual tournament wins by a Shocker in more than 30 years, among multiple other awards.

Even though Stevens and Ostojic come from contrasting backgrounds, their ability to adapt combined with their hard work put into their sport has shown them success.

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