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September 02, 2013
Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)


fresh off a dream tennis season,
Sanchez-Quintanar trades racket for cleats in spirit of the 12th Man

by Cara Pilgrim
12th Man Productions

Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar is one of the many new faces on the 2013 Texas A&M soccer team.

However, she is in no way new to the world of collegiate athletics.

Sanchez-Quintanar has been representing Texas A&M as an athlete for the past two years--not on the field, but on the tennis courts.

Since 2011, Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar was a driving force on the Aggie women’s tennis team. A senior originally from Campo de Criptana, Spain, Sanchez-Quintanar set many records and obtained several awards and honors in the sport. In just the 2012-13 season alone, Sanchez-Quintanar had a grand total of 41 victories on the court. She helped lead the Aggies to a second-place finish at the 2013 NCAA Tennis Championships, where she also became Texas A&M’s first two-time All-American after receiving a school-record No. 4 seed in the NCAA Singles Championship.

When Sanchez-Quintanar entered her freshman year at the University of Maryland, she originally attended the school to play tennis for the then-head coach of the Terps, Howard Joffe. Due to NCAA rules, however, she was not allowed to play tennis her freshman year. Sanchez-Quintanar had also expressed a love for soccer, so Joffe allowed her to play a season, calling it “chicken soup for her heart.” She appeared in seven matches that fall for the U of M soccer team.

"She’s very driven, a great teammate, gets along well with the other girls, and her work ethic is contagious."

- G Guerrieri, head soccer coach

When Sanchez-Quintanar became eligible to play tennis her sophomore year in College Park, she dominated the competition.

“She won her first 14 matches in a row at number one,” recalls Joffe.  “That doesn’t speak to being good at the skill, it speaks to someone who is driven, who hates to lose.  That’s why, along with her great skills, she’s made a success of herself.”

Joffe, who is now the head women’s tennis coach at Texas A&M, came to College Station in 2011--and Sanchez-Quintanar followed.

“Joffe is like my second dad,” she stated. “Since I have been in college he has always been supporting me.”

It would not come as a surprise that when Cristina exhausted her eligibility to play collegiate tennis in May, Joffe knew what to do.  He contacted women’s head soccer coach G Guerrieri, telling him that it was Sanchez-Quintanar’s dream to play soccer with A&M before she graduated…and that she is not only fantastic as a person, but also a competitor.  Guerrieri agreed to let her play for the 2013 season.

“G Guerrieri made it possible for me to play soccer and I am really grateful to him,” says Sanchez-Quintanar.

Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar’s athleticism is not the only thing going for her. Both coaches also noted how strong of a player she is mentally.

“We can always use another winner on the team,” says Guerrieri. “She’s a ferocious competitor, and even though tennis is seen as an individualistic sport, that’s not at all the way she is. She’s very driven, a great teammate, gets along well with the other girls, and her work ethic is contagious. That’s exactly what we wanted.”

Through the first four matches of the fall, Sanchez-Quintanar saw action in three--averaging about 12 minutes off the bench.

So what is next for Sanchez-Quintanar after the soccer season? She will be joining coach Gary Blair and the Texas A&M women’s basketball team in the spring to finish out her senior year.

Whether it be on the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center courts, the pitch at Ellis field, or the court at Reed Arena, it is clear that Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar is both physically and mentally a superb athlete. She’s not only picking up a second collegiate sport, but a third as well.

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