A change of scenery: Finlandia moves to Capital Athletic Conference for most sports teams

Finlandia women's basketball player Katie Loman, left, boxes out Northern Michigan University's Madigan Johns during their exhibition game played Nov. 3, 2018, at the Berry Events Center in Marquette. Both players are Ishpeming High School graduates. (Photo courtesy of Daryl T. Jarvinen)s

HANCOCK — Finlandia University is one of six members of the American Collegiate Athletic Association that will join the Capital Athletic Conference on June 15. Both are NCAA Division III leagues.

The CAC is more than doubling its membership from five to 11 full-time members, though it will shrink back to eight for 2021-22.

With the expansion, the CAC is looking to rebrand, according to a conference news release from earlier this week, which is expected to include a new name and logo for the league.

The other ACAA members coming into the CAC are spread across the country, according to a news release from Finlandia also released earlier this week — Mount Mary, Wisconsin; Pine Manor, Massachusetts; Pratt Institute, New York; Mills, California; and California-Santa Cruz.

That will leave behind three ACAA members, SUNY-Delhi, New York; Valley Forge, Pennsylvania; and affiliate member Wisconsin-Whitewater.

From left, Northern Michigan University’s Madigan Johns passes the ball while under the basket as she is defended by Finlandia’s Katie Loman and Tierra Taylor during their exhibition game played Nov. 3, 2018, at the Berry Events Center in Marquette. Johns and Loman are Ishpeming High School graduates, while Taylor is a graduate of Gwinn High School. (Photo courtesy of Daryl T. Jarvinen)

The existing CAC schools are Christopher Newport, Virginia; University Mary Washington, Virginia; Salisbury, Maryland; Southern Virginia; and St. Mary’s of Maryland; though Southern Virginia, St. Mary’s of Maryland and Pine Manor will depart in another year.

“This is a great opportunity, not only for athletics, but for Finlandia University as a whole,” Finlandia athletic director Curtis Wittenberg said. “We now have the chance to potentially qualify for the NCAA tournament in all of our sports, which will help increase the recruiting regions for our programs.”

The Lions will have the chance to qualify for the NCAA tournament by winning its conference championship in men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, softball and volleyball.

“The Capital Athletic Conference is pleased to welcome these six institutions as the league’s newest members,” said University of Mary Washington President Dr. Troy Paino, chairman of the CAC board of directors. “We look forward to the bright future this newly structured league will be able to offer our schools and student-athletes.”

The CAC sponsors championships in 18 sports, eight men’s and 10 women’s, which also include baseball, cross country, field hockey, tennis, lacrosse and indoor and outdoor track and field.

The ACAA doesn’t include four sports teams at Finlandia — football, men’s and women’s hockey, and esports.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.


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