As the warm Mediterranean sunshine beams down upon the seaside town of Limassol, Cyprus, a budding young tennis star emerges into prominence. Her journey would begin here, but continue half-way around the world as she stumbled upon her adopted home, the sandy shores of Charleston, South Carolina.
Before enrolling at the College of Charleston, Mara Argyriou contemplated professional tennis, but decided that she wasn’t ready to give up school to focus solely on tennis, and found out that the College would be the best place to improve in tennis while still achieving her academic goals.
“I wanted to try play professionally but after I was introduced to college tennis and getting the scholarship offer I couldn’t deny it,” Argyriou said. “It would allow me to play competitive tennis while studying, which was ideal because I wasn’t ready to give up academics.”
Enrolling at the College of Charleston at the age when most American teenagers receive their driver’s licenses, Mara Argyriou had chosen a very difficult route. Yet, after having played in international tennis tournaments such as the Fed Cup on behalf of Cyprus, Mara Argyriou decided to follow her dream of playing college tennis and made the trip of more than 6,000 miles away from her home.
Having never visited Charleston, Argyriou, took a leap of faith, and while initially apprehensive, quickly discovered that she had made the right decision.
“I skyped with head coach Angelo Anastopoulo who happens to also be half Greek and the assistant coach of the time, Arron Spencer,” Argyriou said. “And honestly from our first talk I knew this was the place.”
After finding her feet in Charleston through the help of her teammates and her own volition, Argyriou would then continue to dominate on the tennis court, earning CAA all-second team honors in both singles and doubles during her Freshman year.
Moving forward three years, and Mara finds herself as one of the senior captains of the tennis team, now entrusted with guiding the underclassmen.
“I feel my three years have prepared me well to be able to lead this team to success. I’ve learned through my coaches, through matches and through the other seniors the importance of being the captain and what the team needs and I try to take that into account with everything we do,” Argyriou said.
While Argyriou has again started off extremely strong in doubles and singles, she will not allow personal achievement to outweigh the importance of her team’s overall success.
“The team is always first to me. For me, it’s easy: I lead through example. I’ll always be the first on court and last one to leave,” Argyriou said.
While Mara Argyriou’s on-court success is pivotal to enjoying her last year of college, she already has one eye on the next step in her life, graduate school. Using her knowledge of tennis, Argyriou is looking to combine the sport she dearly loves with academics.
“I plan to go to physical therapy school after I graduate. I have gotten into Elon University and University of Indianapolis and I have been invited for an interview at UNC Chapel Hill,” Argyriou said.
Yet, Mara Argyriou’s work is not finished at the College, as she envisions silverware in her future.
“I plan to enjoy every day of my last semester and lead this team to winning the CAA Championship,” Argyriou said.
Argyriou’s time at the College might be coming to a close, but she will always her time here in the highest regard, especially her fantastic teammates and coaches, who allowed her to prosper.
“I never ever expected College of Charleston to be this amazing. I can honestly say it was the best decision of my life. Coming here has changed my life, this team has become my family and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity I was given.”