An Open Letter from Lycoming College Director of Athletics Mike Clark

Dear Lycoming College Community,

As the director of athletics at Lycoming College, I can not tell you how heartbroken I am about the events that have transpired over the course of the last week regarding COVID-19. Nearly all NCAA sporting events scheduled for the months of March to May have already been canceled and the ones that haven’t been will likely be in the course of the next few days.

On Saturday evening, Lycoming College announced that it would move to a distance-learning model for the rest of the academic year. On Monday, the Middle Atlantic Conference canceled the rest of its 2019-20 athletic events. With reports from the Center for Disease Control and World Health Organization urgently prompting us to practice social distancing, these are undoubtedly the right steps. These next two months will be like nothing that Lycoming College has witnessed in its 208-year history and nothing like our country has ever had to live through. We are being tasked with a great responsibility to do our best to keep each other healthy and at this time, one way to help prevent the spread of the disease is by not having gatherings of large groups. Having seen the news reports from Italy this weekend, I think we can see the importance of this task and trying not to overwhelm what could quickly become a taxed health system.

All of that is to say, I fully support the decision made by the College and the MAC. It is our intention in the coming months to work with our athletes, the College, the MAC and the NCAA to ensure that our athletes are given the best possible options moving forward with regards to their eligibility and their futures. Myself, our coaches and our administrative staff, including our compliance director, Joe Guistina, will be ready to handle any such queries as they are made.

That does not make the reality that members of our wrestling, softball, golf, men’s and women’s lacrosse and tennis teams will not be able to complete their athletic competitions this year any easier. Some of those teams were just hours away from competing in a national tournament – others were teams that had ambitions and the ability to compete for conference tournament slots and conference championships – still others were groups that had several players that were learning their games, quickly adapting to the pressures of collegiate athletics. We are proud of all of you for competing for Lycoming College.

To the seniors, I say thank you and I would like to take a moment to acknowledge all of you.

To Hadyn Swartwood, I can not imagine a more difficult end to a season than the one that you just endured. To be hours from competing in a national championship and not get that opportunity is something that left many of us in the athletic department speechless. You have handled the situation with grace, and we are so proud.

To Kayla Kline, Madison Brown and Darci Warriner – we have rarely, if ever, had many recruiting classes where all of its members were all-state selections in high school, but we found ourselves in that situation when you joined the softball team in 2017. The mark you left on the program is undeniable. I wish we had the remaining 32 games on the schedule to see how many records you could break. To see Kayla work back from a third knee injury suffered in January to be back on the field to compete in all eight games in South Carolina was an example of exactly the type of resilience that we try to instill in all of our student-athletes.

To Drew Collins, Grant Huff, Sam Pollock, Shain Quigley, Nick Russello and Max Crumlich – to not be able to see the six of you have a chance to compete for another conference tournament slot and a chance to reach the conference final, like you did last year, is painful. The amount of work that you put into the men’s lacrosse program is noticeable, both in the way you have carried yourselves in the past four years and the tremendous leaps that all six of you made as players.

To Bailey Parchesky, Hailey Kimble, Alexis Tchou, Natalie Schroeder, Kayla DiJoseph and Kaylee Long – thank you for your leadership on an incredibly young and inexperienced women’s lacrosse team. I know that it has been a long and difficult season in so many ways for you. We were so excited by the strides that the team was making under Coach Quigley’s leadership and to see the way that the team went out and competed on Wednesday at Albertus Magnus, when in many ways it seemed like chaos was closing in from all around, was exactly why all of us in the athletic department work in athletics. Your focus and resolve will be remembered.

To Hannah Summerson – we are so proud of you, the records that you have achieved, the amount of work that you have put into the sport of tennis. Your talent helped redefine a team that had struggled for several seasons and you were a true role model and a tireless worker. We are so sorry you will not get the chance to surpass 100 wins this year.

To Spencer Pedersen – thank you for your dedication to the men’s tennis team and your quiet and steadfast leadership with a young team this year. It will be remembered.

To Aaron Willsea, Joe Von Culin and Oliver Uy – thank you for joining and being a part of a developing golf team. Your ability to take with ease the challenges of one of the most frustrating games on Earth was welcomed by both your coach and our athletic department.

Thank you all again for the impact that you have made. We will see you all again. We are so proud that you are all Warriors.

In closing, I’d ask all of you to continue to support each other through this difficult time. Lycoming is a special place, but that has nothing to do with the campus.  It has to do with our people. All of you have formed strong bonds and created life-long friendships during your time here. I’m confident that these relationships will only grow stronger as we help each other move forward during this difficult time.

We hope to see you all soon!


Mike Clark
Director of Athletics