May 8, 2022 - by

Kianah Motosono: A World Traveler Finds Home At Florida State

GAINESVILLE, Fla. ( – Florida State senior Kianah Motosono has traveled the world. 

By her count, she has been to 29 countries, territories, commonwealths and republics — visits that have allowed her to experience first-hand the vast number of incredible cultures that make up the world as we know it.  She’s been to countries in every hemisphere, crossed the Tropic of Cancer a number of times, traversed the equator and experienced winter, spring, summer and fall in more places than she can recall.

But in 2021, she found a home at Florida State. 

Following three outstanding seasons at the University of Oklahoma, Motosono transferred back to her home state of Florida and found her tennis family at Florida State. 

“It’s such an honor and amazing experience to be able to finish my career in such a competitive and elite program,” said Motosono as the Seminoles prepared to face Florida in the second round of the 2022 NCAA Championships.  “I feel like I’m at home, again.”  

For the Miami, Fla. native, being back in Florida and at Florida State was always meant to be for the senior currently working towards her Master’s in Business Administration. 

Motosono enjoyed an outstanding junior career and was ranked among the top 200 players in the International Tennis Federation rankings when she began to draw interest from many of the top collegiate programs in the nation.  Oklahoma and Florida State were among her final choices, with the Sooners gaining her signature on her National Letter of Intent where she would begin her collegiate career. 

Kianah Motosono: A World Traveler Finds Home At Florida State

“I chose Oklahoma to begin my career because I wanted to create and build a legacy at a school that, historically, didn’t have a big name in tennis,” said Motosono.  “I wanted to be part of a program that was starting something new.   I also wanted a place where I could grow, as not only a tennis player, but as a person.”

Motosono excelled, both academically and athletically at Oklahoma.

As a freshman, she won 18 matches playing primarily on court five and totaled 10 doubles wins.   She partnered with Laura Rico-Garcia to advance to the quarterfinals of the ITA Central Region Championships and went undefeated in the Kitty Harrison Invitational.  Motosono was on her way to a standout season in 2020 before the season was cut short by the COVID Pandemic.  As a junior, she clinched five wins for the Sooners and totaled 16 singles victories. 

She was also an academic standout as she was named to the 2019 Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team and to the Academic All-Big 12 Team in both 2020 and 2021. 

At heart, she has always been a Florida girl and has never been a fan of cold weather.  She longed to play her matches outside with the sun showering the courts.   

“Outdoor tennis and year-round summertime drew me back to Florida,” said Motosono.  “Watching Florida State from across the country, seeing its success, and how they continued to create a name for themselves were things that I certainly noticed.  Florida State stood strong as one of the best teams in the nation and I wanted to be a part this program.”

While Florida State was an option when she was first recruited out of high school, the Seminoles were the option when she graduated from Oklahoma and chose to attend school closer to home.  

“We didn’t get you the first time around but we’re not losing you this time,” Seminole Head Coach Jen Hyde told Motosono while she re-recruited her to Florida State this time in 2021. 

In addition to being drawn to Florida State by the tennis-friendly weather, Motosono was excited about the academic opportunities that are offered at Florida State University, 

After earning her Bachelor’s Degree in International Business and Economics from Oklahoma in 2021, Motosono is working towards her Master’s in Business Administration at Florida State. 

Kianah Motosono: A World Traveler Finds Home At Florida State

For now, Motosono and the Seminoles are ranked 35th in the nation and in the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament.  Following Saturday’s win over Florida International, she has 11 singles wins and teams with Vic Allen as the Seminoles’ court two doubles team.  Motosono gained one of the biggest singles victories of the 2022 season for the Seminoles as she defeated Margaryta Bilokin of Duke as Florida State beat the No. 10 ranked Blue Devils in Tallahassee. 

She’s hoping to combine her love of sports with her love of seeing the world and meeting new people as she completes her education. 

“One of my passions, other than tennis, is my love for travel and learning about different countries and cultures, which is what drew me to International Business,” said Motosono.  “I wanted an academic major that was broad and could be useful anywhere in the world; one that allowed me to travel the world.”

With a full year remaining in her career at Florida State, she aspires to become a professional tennis player, with an eye towards the future.

“I would love to do something in sports,” said Motosono.  “I’ve often thought about the International Olympic Committee. I would love to be able to speak to representatives of other countries and mediate economic issues between countries. Ideally, I would love to be based in Europe, maybe England or Spain, but ideally, I would love a job that would allow me travel around the world.” 

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