Texas Student-Athlete Spotlight: Sarah Lancaster
Courtesy: Big12Sports.com
          Release: 01/06/2011
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By Natalie England
Big 12 Campus Correspondent

In many ways, this story sounds like a joke, and originally, that's all Sarah Lancaster thought it was.

Last spring, her Texas women's tennis coach, Patty McCain, kept nudging Lancaster to ask Gail Goestenkors when she was holding basketball tryouts.

Lancaster played basketball in high school, and even performed trick shots for her tennis teammates when rain derailed practice. One of them shot impromptu video of Lancaster performing a lay-up, and it somehow ended up in McCain's hands. She then e-mailed it to Goestenkors.

"Turns out she was serious about it," Lancaster said.

After watching, so became Goestenkors. Lancaster obviously has some speed and quickness to go along with proven toughness - she compiled a 40-1 singles record in four years of Big 12 Conference play.

"She's a winner. She's beaten A&M every time she's played 'em, so that means a lot to me," Goestenkors said. "She's competitive and very mature. I knew with all the freshmen coming in that we could use all the maturity we could get."

Lancaster posted nine points in 26 minutes, both career highs, during a home victory last month and has appeared in 10 games. She's been valuable to the Longhorns every day though.

"Once she steps between the lines, she's there to work," Goestenkors said.

With a seasoned blend of focus and fun, Lancaster is a leader on the practice court and in the locker room. Generously listed at 5-foot-9, Lancaster retains her lean musculature from a lifetime of slides and stutter steps on the tennis court, but that also makes her the Longhorns' fastest player.

"I know where my strengths are, and I'm quick and I'm fast. That's how I try to push the team," Lancaster said. "They know I'm going to go out and move pretty fast, and I try to get them to keep up with me."

Point guard Ashleigh Fontenette says that Lancaster needles escapes no one.

"She jokes around and pulls pranks like she's been here from day one," Fontenette said.

Lancaster credits that to growing up in sports. At San Antonio's Alamo Heights, Lancaster competed in basketball and track, in addition to becoming the top-ranked junior tennis player in the state of Texas.

"I've been part of a team for so long, I'm pretty used to the team dynamic," Lancaster said. "That made it a little easier. I can get along with everyone."

Lancaster was the 2010 ITA Texas Region Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership & Sportsmanship recipient and placed on the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll on eight occasions. She took the LSAT in early December and plans to enter law school next year.

"Sarah's a tremendous leader," Goestenkors said. "She comes ready to play every day."

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