Oak Lawn sisters Courtney (left) and Molly Mayo won national championships within a week of each other. | Hanna Kohut~For Sun-Times Media
Two sisters. Two championships. One week.
Molly and Courtney Mayo, 17 and 9, respectively, have a lot to be proud of.
Within days, each won a national championship title: Molly on her volleyball team and Courtney for her Irish dance team.
From the family’s home in Oak Lawn, their mother, Nancy, said she never imagined this happening.
“Those days were a whirlwind,” Nancy said. “I flew to Orlando for Molly’s volleyball tournament, came home, threw an eighth grade graduation party for our son, then flew the next day to Anaheim for Courtney’s dance tournament.”
Molly, a senior at Marist High School, said her 1st Alliance club team, based out of La Grange, had to beat nine teams out of the 300 at the tournament to win their championship on June 27. With a final score of 25-21, defeating a team out of Gainesville, Fla., Molly said she couldn’t believe what they had won — especially considering that two of her teammates quit right before they left for the tournament.
“I knew we were going to be really good,” Molly said. “But I really thought we might come in third. I never thought we’d win it all.”
Not only did Molly’s 17-and-younger team win the tournament, Molly herself was named MVP of her age group.
“What’s great is that another girl from Marist, who played on the club’s 18-year-old team also won MVP for her age group,” Nancy said. “Their team also won their national title, so two volleyball players from Marist came out as team champions and MVPs.”
Decked out in her traditional Irish dance costume, Courtney reflected on her own whirlwind championship, just days later, on July 4, in California.
“I’ve been dancing since I was 5,” Courtney said. “I was still nervous when I got to the tournament, but after performing my solo, my nerves went away and I was able to perform as well as I did with my team.”
Courtney, a fourth-grader at St. Germain School and student at the Lavin Cassidy Irish dance school in Worth, said their practice schedule was grueling, but necessary.
“Before the tournament we were practicing seven days a week,” Courtney said. “We dance year round and normally practice only four days a week, but with our solos and team dance, we practiced every day.”
Nancy said that even though she’s been watching Courtney dance for the past few years, she doesn’t know a lot about Irish dancing.
“I had no idea if they were missing a step,” Nancy said. “But after their performance, other teams told me that Courtney’s team would win.”
And they were right. Not only did Courtney’s team of six girls and two boys win, they were given a perfect score of 100 by all three judges.
“They were some really tough judges,” Courtney said. “I had some of them for my solo judges, so I knew what to expect on the team dance.”
The girls’ father, Patrick, said he was unable to make it to the tournaments, but was able to watch them both compete online.
“It’s incredible,” Patrick said. “I’m just so proud of both of them. You have no idea.”
Coincidentally, Molly’s championship came just one day after the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. Nancy said the girls were kissing their own trophy during the impromptu celebration at the Orlando airport.
“It was just amazing to watch both of my daughters’ teams win national titles in the same week,” Nancy said.