WMC, seven Pa. colleges join new conference


WESTMINSTER -- Scheduling for the Athletic Department for Western Maryland College might be a slight headache in 1993.

A headache, but a small one, as the Green Terrors will no longer be in the Middle Atlantic State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MAC).

Western Maryland with seven other MAC colleges from Pennsylvania will be forming the Centennial Conference (CC) from the existing Centennial Football Conference.

In addition to the eight MAC teams forming the CC, three more colleges will become charter members.

"Essentially it is going to have an impact on our out-of-conference schedule," said WMC Athletic Director Richard Carpenter on the effect of the new conference. "It's something that needs to be done, but we are glad to be part of the new conference."

Included in the new CC are Dickinson College, Franklin & Marshall College, Gettysburg College, Swarthmore College, Johns Hopkins University, Muhlenberg College, Ursinus College and WMC. Haverford, Bryn Mawr (both women's colleges) and Washington have accepted invitations to become members.

"I think it was largely the result of presidents who were so well pleased with the Centennial Football Conference's competitive equality and similar philosophies that they thought, why shouldn't we expand it to other sports," said Carpenter.

Most of the WMC coaches think the move is one from which thecan only benefit.

"As a soccer conference it (CC) is argumentatively the most competitive soccer league in the Division III," said soccer coach Matt Robinson. "Out of the eight schools, only three weren't ranked regionally or nationally."

Robinson is coming off of an 11-6-1 season, and the Terrors were ranked 10th by the Intercolligate Soccer Association of America last year. A conference with tough competition is something Robinson favors.

"Our program has grown and I'm looking forward to thcompetitiveness of the new conference," said Robinson.

Carpenter said CC schools will still be close friends with MAC and MAC shouldn't suffer greatly from the schools' departure.

[MAC] obviously will survive," said Carpenter. "It is a strong conference with a rich academic history. The 16 remaining schools have the ability to expand if they want to.

"I'm sure a lot of schools have the desire to come into an 80-year-old conference -- they'll fare just fine."

Carpenter did say that the one area where MAC will be thin is lacrosse teams. With the departure of the eight schools, MAC will have four remaining men's lacrosse teams and three women's.

"It's hard to say what's going to happen," said women's lacrosscoach Kim Easterday. "Some of the best teams in MAC are going to be in the CC."

Easterday shares Carpenter's views about raising the level of competition with the new conference, but she feels there is some need to iron out details, such as tournament play.

"The coaches have to come together and get our input on how things are going to be run," said Easterday, who doubles as a coach in women's lacrosse and swimming.

The move toward a new conference started with the formation of the football-only conference in 1981. The eight private colleges found the 26-school MAC had a large diversity of philosophies and wanted a football schedule with similar schools.

A committee was appointed in 1991 to study the possibility of an all-sports conference. With recommendations for a new conference and the three additional schools to be added later, the CC was born.

"All the programs will benefit from the conference," said Carpenter. "All the schools are fine academic institutions and pride themselves in all areas of Division III."


The Centennial Conference will contain 11 teams:

* Bryn Mawr (women only).

* Dickinson.

* Franklin & Marshall.

* Gettysburg.

* Haverford.

* Johns Hopkins.

* Muhlenberg.

* Swarthmore.

* Ursinus.

* Washington.

* Western Maryland.

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