ALEXANDRIA – When searching for the college she wanted to go to, Alexandria senior Marisa Rousu wanted to find a school that allowed her to continue her tennis career, participate in choir, and pursue an education in Music.
And in her mind, Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, provides that opportunity.
On Monday, Nov. 20, 2023, at Alexandria High School, Rousu signed her National Letter of Intent to join the Wartburg College women’s tennis program and to continue her education.
“For me, the biggest draw to the school is the fact that I can pursue tennis, choir, and a music education degree all at the same time,” Rousu said. “It’s uncommon that a student in high school goes into college to pursue multiple activities like that, and a music degree is very high demand. The overall school is just amazing; they have super friendly people, and they have nice professors. I’m excited.”
Rousu is coming off a 24-6 season where she finished fourth in the Section 8-2A Individual Tournament and made the All-Central Lakes Conference team. She competed most of the season at No. 1 singles for Alexandria.
She joins a Wartburg Knights women’s tennis program that is 6-3 as a team through the fall portion of the 2023-24 season and has finished in the top four out of nine teams in their conference (now named American Rivers Conference, previously named Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference).
“I love their team culture and the environment,” Rousu said.
Wartburg College is an NCAA DIII school. All NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA schools for tennis are governed by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
Rousu said her recruiting process took off in January of 2023.
“The coach [Chris Gustas] reached out to me, and he explained how he had gotten my email from Coach [Nick] Jansen and was interested in recruiting me,” Rousu said. “And that’s kind of where it all started. I ended up doing a tour on President’s Day weekend, and I’ve been on two other visits since then.”
Rousu got her start playing tennis in first grade with Lakes Area Recreation and summer camps.
She first started playing on a team in middle school.
“My favorite part about playing tennis is the team aspect,” Rousu said. “It’s just so fun to have people like your closest friends around you pushing you and making you better. It’s just an overall super fun sport, and I love that you can make friends not only on your team but also with your opponents. It’s just a unique sport and that aspect.”
Rousu has also competed for the Alexandria girls track and field program in the 400m, 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles, the 4x400m relay, the high jump, and the triple jump.
Sam Stuve covers a variety of sports in the Douglas County area. He also is assigned to do some news stories as well.