Mills and Hamner receive ITA regional honors

Women’s Tennis | 06/06/2022 13:09:00

Columbia, South Carolina – Youth Elise Mills and freshman Sarah Hamner of South Carolina Women’s Tennis won ITA Carolina region honors, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced Monday. Mills received the Cissie Leary Sportsmanship Award and the Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award while Hamner was named ITA Rookie of the Year for the region.

The Cissie Leary Sportsmanship Award is presented to an upper class who demonstrates an inspiring dedication and commitment to their team that has enhanced team performance and exemplifies the spirit of college tennis. The Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award is given to a player who has demonstrated outstanding leadership as well as academic, extracurricular and tennis achievements. A player can only be nominated once in his career for this award.

Mills enjoyed a breakout junior campaign in South Carolina, surpassing the 20 singles win mark for the first time in his career. Of his 24 wins, three were upset against ranked opponents and eight were clinched in SEC play. Mills won the game three times for the Gamecocks in games against LSU, Kentucky and Ole Miss.

The Prosperity, SC native entered the ITA Singles Chart for the first time in her career and was ranked No. 68 this season. Off the field, Mills is a member of the student-athlete advisory committee and part of its community service team. She also participated in the Beyond Sports program and completed an internship with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department to learn more about investigations.

Mills is the third in program history to receive the Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship and the fourth in program history to receive the Cissie Leary Sportsmanship Award. She is also the second Gamecock to win the ITA Regional Leadership Awards since Hadley Berg in 2018.

Hamner adds to his list of accolades the recognition of ITA Rookie of the Year. She has 35 singles wins this season, which is tied for the second-best singles season record in the Gamecock history books. Hamner also topped 22 ranked opponents in his first campaign and had 16 doubles wins at first-place South Carolina. Most recently, she advanced to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Singles Championship. The SEC freshman was named to the All-SEC First Team and the SEC All-Freshman Team, becoming the first Gamecock to receive all three honors in the same year.

The program’s first national ITA All-American champion in singles is also the first Gamecock to reach 30 wins in a season since 2009. She even became the first in program history to be ranked No. 1 in singles. The Boca Raton, Florida native remained in the top six singles players all season and finished the year as the No. 4 player in the nation. Additionally, Hamner was selected as a finalist for the 2022 Honda Sport Award for Tennis.

The ITA will announce the national winners on Monday, June 13.

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