Slovakian athlete finds home at BC

Tyler McGinty

Denisa Hromadkova, 18, came to America and spent her senior year of high school at Frontier High School as an exchange student from Slovakia. She decided to stay here in order to go to college and try for a tennis scholarship, and now plays tennis for Bakersfield College.

Hromadkova came here as a part of a foreign exchange student program, and although she isn’t part of the program anymore, she still stays with her host family. “Exchange students usually stay for a year,” Hromadkova said.

As part of the foreign exchange student program Hromdakova participated in, you don’t get to pick the exact area you want to go to, just the country. Hromadkova wanted to go to America, and she wound up in Bakersfield.

Hromadkova found Bakersfield vastly different from Slovakia, especially her high school. “My high school [in Slovakia] had 1,000 students in the whole school,” says Hromadkova. “We didn’t have set schedules like you guys.” Additionally, in Slovakia, most of the teenagers just took the bus but “in Bakersfield you need a car to get anywhere.”

Also, high schools in Slovakia don’t have school sports programs, and Hromadkova didn’t play tennis for a couple years because of it.

“We have to do our sports like in our free time, we have to pay for it and everything and I think it’s better because you try more,” said Hromadkova. “Here, it’s practically for free and usually people start playing in high school and I’ve been playing since I was 7 and I think it’s better.”

Hromadkova started playing tennis when her dad heard about a new coach and asked her if she wanted to learn. “I was playing volleyball, but I like tennis more.”

Hromadkova stayed in America to play tennis at college, and was supposed to go to Cal State Bakersfield, but she had problems with her scholarship, so she ended up going to BC where she studies biology.

“I don’t want to move back to Slovakia, maybe somewhere in Europe,” Hromadkova said about moving back home. “I miss my family and friends, but I visit them.”

Her tennis coach, Gene Lundquist, always speaks very highly of her ability. During the match against Ventura on Feb. 24, she won the last singles match, bringing the game to a tie in what Lundquist called “the most thrilling match of the season so far. So I have to give her a lot of credit. She was up against a tough opponent.”

Hromadkova pulled her hip muscle over the weekend after the match against Ventura, and she may not be able to play in the next game against Glendale Community College.

“I’m going to try to play, but I don’t know if I can finish the match.”