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Pennsylvania is now Shepherd’s athletic home

By Staff | Jun 19, 2019

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Will you learn about the lake effect snow in Erie? Or the intense football atmosphere at Indiana, Slippery Rock and California?

Are the Golden Rams going to outpace the Rams? Will Shepherd ever add cross country, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field, golf, field hockey or swimming to its current list of six women’s sports? The PSAC already has those six women’s sports.

Those are some of the questions that might be asked at Shepherd or by its followers/alumni now that the Rams athletic teams have seen the last of the Mountain East Conference (MEC) and will become a part of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) when the 2019-2020 school year begins.

No more University of Virginia at Wise. No more Urbana and Notre Dame in Ohio. After nearly a century of competition with Fairmont and Glenville, those schools will no longer be on Shepherd’s football schedule.

Here come the Vulcans of California, the Seton Hill Griffins and The Rock of Slippery Rock.

Shepherd will become the 16th conference school playing football. The Rams will be placed in the East Division alongside West Chester, Kutztown, Bloomsburg, Shippensburg, Millersville, Lock Haven and East Stroudsburg.

In 2018, West Chester went 10-1, Kutztown was 9-2, Bloomsburg finished at 6-5 and Shippensburg also was 6-5. Those were the teams in the East Division with winning records. Millersville had a 2-9 record, Lock Haven was also 2-9 and East Stroudsburg completed a 2-9 record season.

Shepherd plays all seven of its East Division neighbors this season.

In the West Division, Slippery Rock was 11-3, Indiana completed an 8-3 season, California had 7-4 record and the other winning season came from Edinboro at 6-5. The West Division schools with losing records were Mercyhurst at 5-6, Clarion at 4-7, Gannon at 2-9 and Seton Hill at 1-10.

The Shepherd 2019 football schedule will also have Seton Hill, Clarion and Mercyhurst from the West Division.

With all the conference teams scheduling 11 games, Shepherd has added Ohio Dominican to its slate of games. Shepherd begins its 2019 campaign at home on Sept. 7 against Ohio Dominican, a team that went 9-2 last season.

A new artificial turf surface at Shepherd’s Ram Stadium will greet the PSAC teams and Ohio Dominican this fall when they come to Shepherdstown.

When men’s basketball comes to the sports calendar in mid-November, the PSAC adds both Mansfield and Pitt-Johnstown to its list of league members. That’s 18 schools for basketball. Mansfield is added to the East Division and Pitt-Johnstown plays in the West Division.

In Shepherd’s East Division, Shippensburg showed a 23-7 record last season. East Stroudsburg was 21-8, West Chester had 21-9 record and the other two teams with winning records were Millers (16-13) and Kutztown (16-14).

Indiana had a heralded 30-3 overall record and Mercyhurst was 26-8. Slippery Rock turned in a 19-10 record and Pitt-Johnstown was 17-13.

Shepherd completed a 14-16 overall record in men’s basketball.

All of the other teams in its division will be played twice in the 2019-2020 season. The West Division provides more games for the Shepherd schedule.

There are six men’s sports sponsored by Shepherd. The PSAC has all six of those sports and also has wrestling, cross country, indoor track and field, outdoor track & field and swimming.

Erie, home of both Gannon and Mercyhurst, annually receives 150 to 200-plus inches of snow. West Chester is located just outside of Philadelphia. And the other 14 conference schools are spread throughout the length of the state of Pennsylvania, a distance of more than 300 miles.

Shepherd will offer a new surface for its football field . . . and a new competitive experience when teams come to Shepherdstown from Lock Haven, Edinboro, East Stroudsburg and elsewhere.