Oklahoma Student-Athlete Spotlight: Ana-Maria Constantinescu and Andrei Daescu
By Ben Coldagelli
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
The transition from high school to a major university is always a new experience. Students leave the world they have grown up in and begin life on their own away from home. The new home may be just down the road. For others, their college may be hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away.
Oklahoma’s Ana-Maria Constantinescu and Andrei Daescu understand this better than anyone. Constantinescu and Daescu are not your normal out-of-state students. The two tennis players hail from the city of Bucharest, Romania, over 5,500 miles from their new home in Norman, Okla.
Daescu and Constantinescu represent their respective teams at the No. 1 singles and doubles positions. Daescu is currently ranked No. 23 in the country, previously peaking as high as No. 10. Constantinescu and her doubles teammate Teona Tsertsvadze are currently No. 29 in women’s doubles.
Daescu began playing tennis at the age of six. When he and his family realized his potential, he became more active in the sport by playing in weekend tournaments throughout Romania and nearby countries.
As Deascu approached high school graduation, he had not even considered playing tennis at an American university until fellow Romanian and OU graduate Silviu Tanasoiu talked to him about becoming a Sooner.
“I wasn’t familiar with college life at all,” Daescu said. “In Europe, we don’t know much about it. I thought coming to OU would be a great chance to keep playing tennis at a high level and get a great education as well.”
Constantinescu had a slightly different path to OU. Her family moved from Romania to Quebec, Canada when she was 15 years old. After a few frustrating years trying to adjust to a French-speaking society and a new continent, she began looking for a place to pursue her next level of education and tennis.
“Oklahoma was the first university I visited,” Constantinescu said. “I loved the campus and loved the great atmosphere with the other student athletes.”
Once on campus, the two Romanians began to transition to the new culture of life.
“It was weird in the beginning,” Daescu said. “I grew up in a big city, so when I came to Oklahoma everything seemed very peaceful and quiet. It’s very different but after awhile I’ve started to really enjoy it.”
Despite being far from home, Constantinescu and Daescu continue to grow closer with their families every day. Constantinescu talks to her family in Canada every day and stays in touch with her extended family in Romania every few weeks. Daescu talks to his family over Skype whenever he gets the chance.
“Basically whenever I’m not in class or at practice, I try to catch up with my family,” Daescu said.
Even though they’re thousands of miles away from home, Daescu and Constantinescu continue to master their sport, grow academically and experience the trip of a lifetime.