NORMAN, Okla.—Oklahoma women’s tennis senior Mia Lancaster has been selected as one of two 2014 Wilson/Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Promoter of the Year Award winners, the ITA announced Wednesday. Lancaster joins Notre Dame’s Emily Mae Schmid as the recipients of the summer internship at Wilson’s global headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.
“When I got the call that I had won, I was really shocked and definitely very, very excited!” Lancaster said. “"I wasn't really expecting to get it. Wilson is the premier business in the tennis world and I know working for them would be an amazing opportunity.”
The Wilson/ITA National Promoter of the Year Award recognizes individuals who promote the game of tennis at the collegiate level by devoting consistent time and effort to promotional activities and who support and bring awareness to either their school program or to the sport in general.
Along with competing for the past four years, Lancaster has spent her time at OU working with the Oklahoma Athletics Marketing Department to help promote the tennis team on campus and around Norman.
"Before each spring season, I coordinate with the marketing department regarding the design and distribution plan for flyers and posters," she said. “I work with my teammates and we split up areas around campus and even off campus to put up our posters.”
The work Lancaster has done with marketing has paid off as each year the number of fans coming to watch matches has increased.
"It's up to us players to promote our sport," she said. "It makes a big difference when you have a big crowd cheering you on. Each year we try and come up with new ways to promote our matches and we have been pretty successful because we have gotten more fans each season."
Lancaster hasn’t just kept her talents on the campus of the University of Oklahoma. She’s spent time introducing kids to tennis through her work coaching as part of the Community After School Program (CASP) Be Fir Club in the Norman Elementary School District. The senior has also spent her summer’s assisting with the First Serve Summer Tennis Camp for inner city children in Oklahoma City.
"It was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had," she said. "This camp was the highlight of these kids' summer and I got to be a part of it. The focus wasn't necessarily on how good they were getting, but more on teaching them the game and having fun while doing it. I had the best group of girls. They made me laugh so hard and taught me a lot. I hope to get involved with this camp again in the future.”
This season, Lancaster and doubles partner Whitney Ritchie won the 2013 USTA/ITA Central Region Doubles Championships, and won the No. 1 doubles Big 12 position championship this spring. Lancaster also became the only senior on the squad to notch 20 wins in each of her four seasons of play.
After the Sooners run in the NCAA Championships ends, Lancaster will embark on her new journey. Though her college tennis career will be over, working at Wilson will allow her to continue being around the sport she loves.
“I don't really know what to expect but I am really looking forward to working at their headquarters and being able to see what goes on a day-to-day basis as Wilson,” she said. “I am really excited for all of it!"