From the cradle to the court

From the cradle to the court

09_25_10 WTE Roberta Alison Fall Classic Mary Anne Macfarlane Photo By Amelia J. Brackin

Billy Whyte

While growing up in Ogden, Utah, it didn’t take long for Mary Anne Macfarlane to figure out what she wanted to do when she was older. Macfarlane’s father played and coached college tennis at Utah State, and her two older sisters, Hadley and Lauren, were all-conference tennis players at Boise State and Florida State, respectively. So naturally, she decided to follow in her family’s footsteps.

“Both my parents were on athletic scholarships, and that was kind of the goal for us when we started playing sports,” Macfarlane said. “It was like, choose a sport, get really good at it and get an athletic scholarship, and I just felt like I loved tennis more than anything else.”

Like her sisters before her, Macfarlane has dominated at the college level. Since joining the women’s tennis team, she earned the No. 1 position her freshman year, made first team All-SEC and was named the Southeastern Conference freshman of the year.

She has continued that success into her sophomore season, winning her first 12 matches of the season and helping lead the team to a 9-1 start in SEC play.

But as important as the 23rd-ranked Macfarlane has been for the Crimson Tide, she wasn’t even initially recruited to play for the team. Head coach Jenny Mainz originally assumed she would go to Florida State because her sister Lauren was there. Were it not for an intervention from Hadley in Mary Anne’s recruiting process, she may have never ended up at the Capstone.

“I knew [Mainz] because she is good friends with the Florida State coach, and since my sister played for Florida State,” Macfarlane said. “We didn’t really talk much before, because she just thought I would go to Florida State because my sister was there. Hadley told Jenny, ‘Look, Mary Anne is really interested in coming to Alabama, she would look at it.’ So, Jenny started recruiting me, and I came here on an official visit and absolutely loved it.

Macfarlane has seen success during her time at the Capstone, but it hasn’t always been easy for her playing against such elite competition week after week. As a young player in the No. 1 position, she consistently has to face opponents ranked in the top 25, especially in the SEC, where she recently has had to play against the first- and eighth-ranked players in the country. Macfarlane said she is thankful and lucky to have sisters who can help her through it all.

“It was really hard for me, it gets a little discouraging at times because you are playing every team’s best player, and they are always good players no matter what team you are playing,” Macfarlane said. “Thankfully, my sisters are amazing though. They have taught me so much and have really helped me through college and through difficult times. It’s really nice to have older sisters who have been through it already.” Macfarlane said she isn’t sure what the future holds for her, but she knows she will be happy no matter what happens.

“I just want to continue to improve individually as a player, and not really worry about outcomes, and just have fun and memorable college experience,” Macfarlane said. “No matter what I do, as long as I’m with my friends and family, I will be happy.”