Arcadia University President Carl (Tobey) Oxholm III has announced the school will add its 17th varsity sport — women’s golf. The team will begin competition in the 2012–13 academic year.

The addition of the women’s golf program highlights the University’s commitment to the Middle Atlantic Conference’s (MAC) desire for league members to sponsor a minimum of 16 intercollegiate teams.

“The addition of women’s golf as a varsity sport demonstrates Arcadia’s commitment to developing a well-rounded athletics program while meeting the interests of our students,” said Brian Granata, Arcadia’s newly appointed director of Athletics and Recreation. “With ties to our Beaver College heritage, women’s golf is a natural fit to be recognized as our next varsity sport. We look forward to building a competitive program within the MAC.”

Arcadia becomes the ninth school in the MAC to sponsor women’s golf, joining Albright College, Alvernia University, Eastern University, FDU-Florham, Misericordia University, Lebanon Valley College, Manhattanville College and incoming member Stevenson University, allowing the league the necessary minimum of eight programs to receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships.

While the program is a new addition to Arcadia, women competing on the links for the Scarlet & Gray are not. Dating back to the 1960s and early 1970s, women competed in golf for Beaver College and again in the mid-1990s when Patricia O’Brien ’96 helped Beaver’s 1995 co-ed team swing to a 4-3 overall record in its first season, competing in the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference (PAC).

Over the past two competitive seasons, Shannon Massott ’14 (Philadelphia, Pa. – Archbishop Ryan) has participated on Arcadia’s Men’s Golf team — often finishing in the top two among the team’s scorers. Joining the team as a first-year student in 2011, Massott was a top-five finisher at the inaugural MAC Women’s Championship Tournament, earning her all-conference recognition.

This past season, Massott competed in the Men’s Championship Tournament and finished second overall for the Knights. This spring season, Massott was joined on the team by three newcomers: field hockey players Ashley Ditchey ’14 and Morgan Paese ’15 and equestrian rider Kristen Oliva ’15.

“It was a ton of fun practicing with a couple of the girls this past spring,” Massott said. “It was definitely a change for me, because I usually only play with guys being on the men’s team and growing up with three brothers. Ashley, Morgan and Kristen were open to improving their mechanics in their first year, so I’m looking forward to practicing and learning together and excited to see how we can do as team this coming year.”

Current Men’s Golf Coach Rick Brownell and Assistant Coach Justin Scott will also run the women’s program.

“With the sport of golf increasing in popularity among high school students the Philadelphia region, the addition of the women’s golf program will allow the University expanded visibility in the local recruiting market,” Brownell said. “Also, we’ve had interest with current Arcadia students over the past few years, and we are interested in reaching out to more of them as potential players who want to learn or better their existing game and compete for the Scarlet & Gray.”

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