Standing on the tennis court with smiles plastered across their faces, Mae and Christine Canete held their identical trophies with pride as the moment sank in.
The two sisters had a dream of playing doubles tennis together in college. But even in their dreams, they didn’t picture making UCO history – becoming the first duo to claim the doubles national championship title at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Cup.
“We didn’t know we made UCO history until after we arrived back in Edmond from the tournament,” Mae said. “We just couldn’t be more grateful to do something for the school that has given and helped so much. We’re so happy that we accomplished this for our school and can’t wait to do it again in the spring for team championships.”
The Canete sisters’ journey to UCO started in Los Angeles, California, and what started as a family hobby turned into a passion. “Before I was born, my dad picked up tennis as a hobby, and it was something he enjoyed, so by the time my sister and I hit the four-year mark, he’d take us to the courts pretty frequently. It’s safe to say that he’s not just my coach, but my rock,” Mae said.
“Tennis was a sport that my parents enjoyed. They always knew that they wanted to put us in a sport, and because of that connection, tennis seemed fitting,” Christine added.
This helped the duo learn early on about how well their dynamic is when playing together. “We each know and read each other extremely well, which allows us to constantly pick up and move forward,” Christine said.
Mae says while she is the older of the two sisters by 18 months, it is Christine who is keeping her on her toes. “I wouldn’t call my sister a perfectionist, but she always strives to perform her best. It keeps me geared up for what’s next to come.”
As they are preparing for the spring season, they have advice for female athletes.
“Just keep pushing. Everything starts with a healthy mentality and a strong support system. Enjoy just being out there and doing something you love. If you put in the work, you will get results. Don’t take the losses personally. Instead, use them as a stepping stool, a learning block and a way to keep pushing yourself. Just remember to be present at the moment, enjoy yourself and listen to your body,” said Christine.
Mae added, “the rewards and outcomes strongly reflect onto the amount of quality time you spend improving yourself. Keep your head up, don’t take anything for granted and work hard. Moments of success are inevitable when you always stay hungry.”
While the feeling of winning a championship is extraordinary, the power of a sisterly bond is unrivaled. The bond provides support during challenging times, a mentor, a best friend and a model for motivation. The unity off the court is as special as the unity on the court, and that’s what makes the Canete sisters an unmatched duo.