February 2016

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Page 212 of 212

213 D ominic Patrick has gone from being lost on the University of Iowa campus to being the leader of its nationally ranked men's tennis team. A native of Gilbert, Arizona, and a graduate of Campo Verde High School, Patrick is the lone senior on the Hawkeye roster. He was recruited by former UI head coach Steve Houghton and said he had goosebumps the day he committed. "Every day in high school, I proudly wore my black and gold sweatshirt, making sure I showed it off to everyone on campus," Patrick said Jan. 20 at a UI Athletics Department all-staff meeting. e five-star recruit was thrilled with the idea of joining a Division I program in the strongest men's tennis conference in the nation. But when he arrived in Iowa City, Patrick experienced "the biggest reality check I have ever experienced." He joked about receiving a bombshell the day his mother, Maryanne, dropped him off at his dormitory. "I said, 'Mom, where do I take my laundry? More importantly, who is going to be doing it?'" Patrick was 8-6 at No. 5 singles in 2012-13, but just 1-6 in the Big Ten. He said he had trouble handling adversity both academically and athletically and didn't feel he lived up to his reputation or ability. Patrick welcomed a summer break back in Arizona aer battling injuries and low self-esteem during his first year as a collegian. "I was eager to get healthy and come back stronger than before," Patrick said. As a sophomore he played anywhere from No. 3 to No. 5 singles and posted a 23-16 record, 5-6 in the Big Ten. Although the Hawkeyes began believing they could accomplish great things as a team, Patrick suffered an individual setback in the form of a loss to a Wake Forest opponent he felt he should have defeated. Current UI head coach Ross Wilson and Patrick went on a soul-searching walk. "He explained that I wasn't mentally there for the match and I needed to improve," Patrick recalls. "I never understood what he meant about needing to learn how to compete. I felt I was trying my best, but wasn't getting the results. He then pointed to the Tigerhawk logo on my chest and asked me what it meant." Patrick pondered Wilson's question for some time. en one day he had an 'Aha' moment. "To be a Hawkeye wasn't just putting in hard work, winning matches, and succeeding on the court and in the classroom," Patrick said. "Being a Hawkeye was being part of a family that was always there for me and pushed everyone to succeed beyond what they thought they were capable of." As a junior in 2014-15, Patrick jumped to No. 2 and No. 3 singles and nine matches at No. 1 doubles. He won 15 times in singles and 18 times in doubles, teaming with Matt Hagan to become Flight A Big Ten Indoor Doubles champions. Now a team captain, Patrick will graduate in May with a degree in finance, then plans to return to Arizona to work as a financial analyst. "Everyone said before I went to college it would be the fastest four years of my life and they were right about that," Patrick said. "But I wouldn't want to spend my four years any other way than being a Hawkeye. I am beyond excited for my last season to compete with a Tigerhawk on my chest." To read a 24 Hawkeyes to Watch feature on Patrick, click HERE.

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