HUNTINGDON, Pa.- Juniata College has officially announced its plan to begin varsity competition in the sport of men's lacrosse starting in the 2021-2022 academic year. The addition will raise the college's total number of varsity sports to 24 and result in full participation in all sponsored Landmark Conference sports.
"Men's lacrosse is one of the fastest-growing sports in the nation for high schools and colleges, and many men are seeking opportunities to play at the collegiate level while receiving a high-quality education," said athletic director and head coach for men's basketball Greg Curley. "The addition of men's lacrosse on the heels of our other recent and successful additions including: men's and women's golf, men's swimming, and women's lacrosse will allow our department to meet the changing demands of our student-athletes. It will also enhance our competitive footprint, develop new recruiting opportunities, and provide a broad-based athletic experience reflective of the Division III philosophy."
Men's lacrosse is one of the fastest-growing sports in the US, as of the latest US Lacrosse participation report, there were 826,000 active players. Of that, over 183,000 are high school boys playing lacrosse. Fourteen states have over 10,000 youth lacrosse players and included amongst them are Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. It is the second fastest-growing sport amongst men's collegiate sports, with nearly 400 programs across the country including 240 men's lacrosse programs at the Division III level.
When men's lacrosse begins competition in 2021-2022, Juniata will now offer every sport in the Landmark Conference along with Catholic University of America, Elizabethtown College, University of Scranton and Susquehanna University.
The lacrosse team will play and practice at the Winton Hill Athletic Complex, on Gibbel Field, where the playing surface was specifically designed for soccer and lacrosse and is one of the premier playing surfaces in the region. A national search for a full-time men's lacrosse coach will begin immediately. Recruiting will start once a coach is identified, which will provide two full years to build a full varsity roster for the 2022 season. In the 2021 season, the team will become fully active as a club program as they compete in 3-5 spring competitions.
"The market for college students pursuing an individualized, liberal arts education is extremely competitive and adding men's lacrosse can assist us in attracting students from northeastern states outside Pennsylvania where lacrosse is extremely popular," explained Juniata president James A. Troha.
Juniata athletes are afforded an exceptional opportunity to pursue a self-directed course of study through small classes from full-time teaching faculty and achieve exceptional results – 94% of graduates do so in 4 years, 90% of students are employed or in graduate school six months after graduation, and 95% of students participate in distinctive, hands-on learning such as undergraduate research, field work or study abroad.