The University of Maine at Presque Isle Athletic Department is excited for another great school year and all the upcoming 2019-2020 sports seasons. The year is off to a great start with fall roster sizes being the highest they have been in years. The excitement around our athletic teams continues to grow each year. The start of our school year also marked the opening of play for NCAA Division III fall sports.
The men’s and women’s soccer teams started the year off with a pair of wins on the road at Vermont Tech. The men defeated the VT Knights 4-0, while the women’s team won their game 4-1. Men’s and women’s cross country hosted the UMPI Invitational on Saturday, August 31, with the women taking third place and the men finishing in fourth place. At the event UMPI athletics honored Coach Chris Smith for his 30+ years of service. Women’s volleyball fought hard but fell in their opening matches on the road playing some of the toughest teams in the nation, including nationally ranked Babson College. Men’s golf practices are now underway and their first match will be Sept. 17 at the Waterville Country Club as they compete in the Thomas Invitational.
The athletics department would like to make the campus aware of personnel changes as well as welcome some new, but familiar, faces to the department. UMPI athletics welcomes newcomers Alissa Edwards (Head Softball Coach), Eric Macek (Athletic Trainer) and Shea Cushman (Nordic Ski) to the staff: all recent UMPI graduates. Aaron Marston will start his first official year as the Women’s Soccer Head Coach after taking over midseason last year, when he helped lead the Owls to two wins in their last six games. Mark Knight will take over the role of Sports Information Director. Gavin Kane will continue as the Head Women’s Basketball Coach, while also serving as the Assistant Athletic Director and Head Golf Coach.
The UMPI men’s and women’s Nordic Ski teams will compete in the United States Collegiate Ski Association (USCSA) starting this upcoming season. Previously, Nordic Ski competed at the NCAA level. The shift in Nordic Ski to the USCSA was made to better align with the department’s mission to provide the best overall student-athlete experience that allows student-athletes to have a well-balanced collegiate experience. UMPI has a rich history of performing well at the USCSA national level prior to its NCAA affiliation.
The Owls enter their second year in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC), no longer the newcomers as we welcome SUNY Delhi entering the NAC for this 2019-20 year. Cazenovia College, SUNY Cobleskill and SUNY Polytechnic Institute will be joining the conference as full members in the 2020-21 year. This will bring the NAC to a 12 team conference and aligns with the conference’s goal to get to an East/West conference model to help decrease travel and missed class time.
“The athletic department continues to grow each year and we could not be more excited for the upcoming year,” Director of Athletics Dan Kane said. “With the growth of the conference to 12 members starting in the fall of 2020, it helps stabilize the conference as well as ensure the conference maintains their automatic qualifier status for national championships.”
The NCAA requires that conferences have a minimum of seven teams to sponsor a sport to maintain an automatic qualifier to nationals. With the membership expansion of the NAC, all NCAA sponsored sports at UMPI will compete in a sport that allows them to advance to the NCAA National Tournament if they win the North Atlantic Conference Championship.
If any student is interested in trying out for a sport please reach out the perspective coach of that sport or contact Dan Kane at Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org. Go Owls!