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Nov. 25, 2015 — A prominent addition to Division III

The Capital Athletic Conference, which already has a number of prominent field hockey and lacrosse participants such as Christopher Newport and Salisbury, is about to get a whole new name.

Penn State.

No, the Division I university isn’t about to pack its tent and move down to Division III. Instead, Penn State’s Harrisburg campus (one of its 23 satellite campuses) is planning a major infrastructure upgrade in the next three years, building two facilities for soccer, lacrosse, track, and field hockey.

In field hockey and lacrosse terms, this is a significant addition. The location of the university bridges the gap between Eastern and Western Pennsylvania and can help add both field hockey and lacrosse in PIAA District’s 5, 6, and 9, which collectively have only one or two schools that play either sport.

But I also think that the addition of Penn State Harrisburg in both field hockey and lacrosse will affect the State College campus. Penn State has what is called a 2+2 system, where students in good standing may transfer campuses between sophomore and junior years.

I can foresee a time when a Penn State Harrisburg student-athlete, who just happens to be a pretty good field hockey or women’s lacrosse player, will use her experiences with the Harrisburg team to walk on to the Division I team at State College if her course of study requires her to transfer campuses.

But I also think Penn State Harrisburg is going to be a well-run team with immediate championship aspirations. It’s a name school which has excellent field hockey and lacrosse traditions at Division I. Watch for them in a few years.

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