Missouri women's tennis player excels athletically and academically

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 | 10:57 p.m. CST
Jamie Mera, who has played for the tennis team for the past four years, returns serves from Assistant Coach Jason Potthoff at the Green Tennis Center on Tuesday. Mera, a senior, just received a full scholarship to Mercer Law School in Macon, GA.

COLUMBIA — It was another two busy days for Jamie Mera.

On Feb. 23, Mera left Columbia at 5 a.m. and pulled into Lambert-St. Louis International Airport about two hours later. After boarding the plane, she headed to Atlanta.

Once there, she traveled to Mercer University in Macon, Ga. After all, she was a finalist for the Woodruff Scholarship at Mercer's law school, which meant she needed to interview in person. Mercer is about 1,200 miles away from where she was scheduled to play tennis the next day against the University of Minnesota.

Her interview happened a day earlier than the competition to accommodate the tennis schedule. Afterward, Mera completed a tour of the campus before heading back to the airport early the next morning. She flew to Minneapolis and headed straight to the courts.

“The team has gotten me this far," Mera said. "It would have been out of character for me to abandon them now."

Mera, who came to MU in 2008 on a full athletic scholarship, is a senior on the tennis team. The women's tennis team practices when it isn't traveling or competing at home. The players can only be sure to have Mondays to themselves. But the busy schedule hasn't hurt Mera's academics.

Her hard work both on and off the court has led to her second full scholarship offer in four years, this time, a full academic scholarship for Mercer's law school.

Coach Sasha Schmid says Mera actually appears to thrive off of her busy schedule.

“It never seems like it’s hard for her,” Schmid said. “She’s a level, balanced, happy person.”

Mera will graduate with summa cum laude honors, which requires a 3.9 GPA or higher, from the Missouri School of Journalism. Along with her journalism degree, she has a double minor in political science and business. She has participated as the chair of community service and the co-president of the Student Athlete Advisor Committee and was one of 20 students inducted to Mortar Board, one of Missouri’s secret honors societies.

Although tennis and law seem unrelated, Mera said she owes her success in applying for law school to her team.

“I got to talk about the influence sports has had on my life, about learning how to deal with pressure, how to lead," Mera said.

She hasn't picked a law school yet, but as the tennis team begins Big 12 Conference play, her focus is on athletics.

The Missouri tennis team begins Big 12 play against Texas A&M at 5 p.m. on March 16.

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