Carpe D1em

Carpe D1em

Mercyhurst becomes Erie’s first Division 1 University

Erie’s own Mercyhurst Lakers are “seizing the day” by accepting an invitation to join the NCAA Division I Northeast Conference. On Thursday, April 4, the university announced that all 26 varsity teams will transition to play at the Division I level at the beginning of the Fall 2024 academic year. With a rich history that has run its roots deep in the Erie community for over a century, many students, educators, and administrators of the institution will benefit immensely from this exciting change.

For the past 15 years, Mercyhurst athletics (aside for their Men’s and Women’s Hockey programs) was a member of the PSAC conference. After seeing such great success at that level for so many years, the school looks forward to offering the opportunity to compete at the highest level of collegiate athletics to their student-athletes.

Once they arrive to the Northeast Conference (NEC), the Lakers’ new competitors will be schools such as Central Connecticut State University, Chicago State University, Fairleigh Dickinson Univerity, Le Moyne College, Long Island University, Saint Francis University, Stonehill College, and Wagner College.

At Prep, we are proud to have several senior athletes who are committed to play a sport for Mercyhurst in the fall. Baseball standouts Nick Jackson and Carson Phillips will step up to the plate for the Lakers next spring. 2022 State Champion Caitlin Dugan will also run cross country for the green and navy.

“Mercyhurst transitioning is very exciting not only for myself but for the whole community,” Nick said. “It is the first local university to go D1, which will provide a great opportunity for local athletes like myself to get recruited and compete locally at the highest level.”

Senior and Pitt baseball commit Joey Spano Jr. also expressed enthusiasm for the transition. Joe Spano, Joey’s dad, is the Director of Athletics at Mercyhurst, and he and his family were influential in making the move to D1 status possible.

“This is a really exciting opportunity for everyone involved,” Joey said. “It will be fun to see larger schools come to town and to see Mercyhurst University compete on a bigger stage.”

With Cathedral Prep’s strong history of academic and athletic success, many students will have the chance to take advantage of the presence of a Division I school just a few minutes away.

“I know a lot of local student-athletes may choose to stay home now for the opportunity to compete,” Joey said. “Many Prep students will get the chance to reach their potential and not have to go far to do it.”

For those Prep students committed to study and compete this fall, they will enter into a new environment that no one at Mercyhurst has experienced before.

The competition and scheduling will be unlike anything we have seen,” Nick said. “We all get to help form the new culture/brand of athletics our school will be known for. I am excited to be a part of a new era of Mercyhurst University.”

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