By Patrick Crawford
Iowa State sophomore tennis player Maria Fernanda Macedo came to Ames, the home of the Cyclones, from the bustling, sprawling metropolis of Mexico City, Mexico. Macedo wasn’t exactly sure what she’d gotten herself into when joining the ISU women’s tennis program.
Ames, often ranked as one of the top small cities in the nation to live and work, can still be an adjustment for someone coming from one of the largest cities in the world.
“I’d heard of Iowa, but I didn’t know anything at first,” Macedo said. “Mexico City is far different. In Ames, I can just walk anywhere. I like that. But the weather is definitely different.”
Macedo’s second Cyclone campaign was piping hot. She turned in a 20-14 overall mark in singles play to rank as ISU’s 11th-best all-time single-season mark.
Macedo’s contributions in the 2009-10 season tasted even sweeter after the numerous close calls she suffered in her freshman year (14-17, overall)
“It feels great,” Macedo said. “I’m happy about this season. I’m happy I can contribute wins to our team effort. Last year, all of my matches were close. This year I’ve been able to take that extra step.”
With her recent success and adjustment to life in the Midwest, Macedo remembers how her journey to become a Cyclone began.
“Armando (Espinosa, ISU head coach) e-mailed me about Iowa State,” Macedo said. “I heard from a few coaches about playing. Now, I love the campus and team. I’m happy I said yes to Iowa State. The coaches always make sure everything is perfect. Coach Espinosa is organized and he makes sure practice is always fun.”
Macedo was a top-flight competitor in her native country, garnering the top-ranking in Mexico City. She was ranked as high as third in the nation during her high school career. Adjusting to play in the U.S. and the stiff competition in the Big 12 Conference was essential for the Iowa Stater.
“It is very different,” Macedo said. “The top competition in Mexico, nationally, was very good. In this conference, every single match is going to be tough.”
If being a force on the tennis court wasn’t enough, Macedo is especially skilled in the classroom. The marketing and international business major was an Academic All-Big 12 first-team honoree this season.
“I think being a good student all my life has helped in my adjustment,” Macedo said. “I’m used to working on it outside of practice. We don’t have a lot of free time. I know to not be watching television if there is something to do.”
With tennis, Macedo has certainly found something to do at Iowa State.