Plymouth State University President Donald P. Wharton has announced that two athletic teams have been elevated to varsity programs, beginning with the 2006-07 season.
President Wharton announced that women’s ice hockey and cheerleading are the newest varsity sports at Plymouth State. Both programs were started several years ago as club teams, and spent the last two years as affiliates in the athletic department.
Dr. Wharton made the announcement of the new varsity cheerleading program last Saturday at halftime of the PSU men’s basketball game before a packed house at Foley Gymnasium, and declared the women’s hockey program varsity prior to the Panther women’s ice hockey charity game Sunday in front of a large crowd at PSU’s home ice hockey facility, Waterville Valley Arena.
The elevation of the two teams at Plymouth State comes with the full support of the PSU Student Senate, Athletic Council, and Athletic Director John P. Clark. Plymouth State now has 19 varsity sports, eight men’s and 11 women’s. They are the first varsity sports added at Plymouth State since women’s volleyball began in 1996.
“I want to thank the students, especially the seniors, who worked so hard and showed such dedication and commitment to seeing this happen,” said Dr. Wharton. “Women’s ice hockey and cheerleading are two of the fastest growing sports in the NCAA and the same is true at Plymouth State. We’re thrilled for the current and future students who will be able to compete in these programs.”
The Panther women’s ice hockey team posted a 9-7 record this season, its second as an athletic department affiliate. The team has been coached the past three years by Mark Wojcinski.
The PSU cheerleading program has been under the direction of Coach Carrie Kiley the past six years. The Panthers practice daily and perform at all home men’s and women’s basketball games as well as compete at several college cheerleading tournaments.