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It's a Family Affair

by Shannon Miles, UWF Sports Information

Sisters Sarah and Lauren Fagler are both student-athletes at UWF (Photo by John Blackie)
Sisters Sarah and Lauren Fagler are both student-athletes at UWF (Photo by John Blackie)

Same sport or not, it is becoming more and more common to see siblings competing on the same level.  Venus and Serena Williams, Peyton and Eli Manning and the Molina brothers are a few of the most noted siblings in sports today.

This has not stopped at the University of West Florida. Mariana and Luiza Sonnervig, Lauren and Sarah Fagler and Chandler and McKenzie Carney are three sets of sisters who have come from around the world to compete for the Argonauts.

UWF women’s tennis sophomore twins, Mariana and Luiza, came to UWF by way of Sao Paulo, Brazil. With a recommendation from a former tennis teammate/friend, this set of sisters is attempting to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Mariana (left) and Luiza Sonnervig
Photo by John Blackie

“Having a sibling here made things so much easier. Especially in the beginning because it is a different culture and language, and we didn't know anybody,” said Mariana. “We are always supporting each other. Of course we miss our family and friends from Brazil, but my sisters are also my best friends, so I am really happy that they are here with me. We have so much fun together.”

Luiza and Mariana are not at UWF alone. Their older sister, Carolina, decided to join them to make their new residence feel a little more like home. “Carolina helps me a lot and definitely makes my time here better,” stated Luiza.

The Sonnervigs are not the only ones hundreds of miles away from home. Chandler and McKenzie Carney are at UWF all the way from Indianapolis, Ind. Chandler who transferred from DePaul University to join her sister, who is beginning her collegiate cross country career, makes sure the close bond stays between the two. 

McKenzie (left) and Chandler Carney
Photo by John Blackie

“McKenzie and I do not live together, and I have not had the chance to watch McKenzie compete in a cross country race here,” said Chandler, a sophomore outside hitter for UWF’s women’s volleyball team. “It is really hard to find time to go out and support her since our sports share the same season. But we hang out with some of the same people, and I think that brings us closer together.”

Although home, Gainesville, Fla., is not too far away for the Faglers, for right now Pensacola has become just that for them. Lauren, who transferred from Pensacola State College, to continue her basketball career with the Argos, is happy to be here with her younger sister who transferred in last spring.

“I’m at every home game there is and so is she. We see each other play all the time and make the effort to make sure we do,” said Sarah, who is a defender for UWF women’s soccer. “Sometimes it gets stuffy with being around each other all the time since we hang out with the same people, but we make it work and still have fun with each other.”

While most siblings often times are trying to part from each other, these sisters find that family is most important. Having each other around, for them, makes college life easier as well as more enjoyable and would not rather share it with anyone else but them.

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