WINTHROP, Mass. – Elms College and the Great Northeast Athletic Conference are pleased to announce that the Blazers’ GNAC core membership will begin this fall with the upcoming 2021-22 academic year.
Last October, both the institution and the league office issued a joint announcement indicating that Elms would join the GNAC with the 2022-23 academic year, however that timeline has since been adjusted.
Elms had been a member of the New England College Conference since 2007, claiming 19 league championships while leading the way in All-Academic selections.
“It was the right time to make the move,” said Elms College Director of Athletics Michael Theulen, DPE. “We are looking forward to having all of our varsity sport programs in the same league, and to competing with other institutions so closely aligned with Elms’s Mission, Core Values, and dedication to putting equal importance on both academic integrity and athletic opportunity.”
The Blazers swimming and diving programs have been associate members of GNAC since 2006, last competing at the 2020 GNAC Championships just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. Now all 17 sport programs will compete in the same conference, including: baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s golf, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s outdoor track & field, as well as men’s and women’s volleyball.
“The GNAC is a natural fit for Elms College, as seven other private Catholic Colleges are currently among its member institutions,” said Elms College President Harry E. Dumay, Ph.D., MBA. “Also, our student-athletes have competed with GNAC institutions in various sports both in- and out-of-conference and already feel at home with its level of competitiveness, sportspersonship, and comradery.”
GNAC Commissioner Joe Walsh, the conference office, and current members are working diligently to make scheduling adjustments to accommodate the Blazers’ programs, as Elms will now begin its GNAC journey this fall with men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s golf, and women’s volleyball.
“We are most pleased at the opportunity to offer a first-class student-athlete experience for Elms’ programs beginning this fall,” said Commissioner Walsh.
A private, Catholic coeducational liberal arts college in Chicopee, Mass., Elms was founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield, Mass. Located two miles north of Springfield and 90 minutes west of Boston, it grants associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctor of nursing practice degrees. The college aspires to live and work according to the core values of Faith, Community, Justice, and Excellence.
The Maguire Center serves as the home of the Elms athletic department, as well as its athletic gymnasium with a suspended indoor track, a 25-meter pool, a sports medicine facility and aerobics/weight rooms.
The Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 13 member institutions and over 3,000 student-athletes across the New England region. Founded in 1995, the GNAC annually sponsors and administers 22 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunity and community involvement in an effort to enhance the student-athlete experience.
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