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NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. (Titan Athletics)– Westminster College Athletics had an impressive year by winning five Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) team championships during the 2018-19 academic year (men’s soccer, women’s swimming & diving, women’s indoor track & field, women’s golf, and women’s lacrosse). Those last two PAC Titles, junior Emily Marcus (South Park, PA / South Park) played a significant role as a member of both teams despite being in the same Spring season. Every Westminster student-athlete strives for an opportunity to hold the PAC Champions banner. Emily did it twice within a month apart. Sure, there have been student-athletes across all divisions who played for a conference championship team in Fall and Winter or Spring, but not many have claimed two conference crowns in the same season.
“I feel lucky to have been a part of all of it,” Emily said. “It definitely makes all the hard work and long days feel worth it. Both championships were so different and I feel blessed to have such great experiences to take out of my junior year.”
On April 13, Emily helped the Westminster women’s golf team rally from being down six strokes entering the day to win the PAC Championship after shooting an 87 to tie for 3rd place at the PAC Spring Championships. “I was the last group to tee off that day, so we were the final group to finish,” Emily reflected. “My teammates and other fans were standing above the 18th green. When I came in, [Head women’s golf coach Matt Torrence ’93] and my teammates told me we had won by 75 strokes. I felt a sense of relief and a sense of accomplishment. There was no doubt we were the best women’s golf team in the PAC this year, but after what I felt was a rough (PAC Fall Championships), we had to work to show it. The championship brought our team closer together and I’m hopeful to see what we can do next year.”
Less than a month later on May 4, Emily helped the Westminster women’s lacrosse team win the inaugural PAC Championship in the Titans’ first-ever postseason run. Emily was part of the Titan defense that held Washington & Jefferson College scoreless for the last 42 minutes of the contest. Emily started in the backline and contributed with a ground ball and a caused turnover. “The women’s lacrosse team championship was one of those wins that I feel like you see in movies,” said Emily. “The celebration was massive and unforgettable. Students rushed onto the field to celebrate with us and we jumped in (Brittain Lake), both moments I’ll never forget. We were the underdogs (picked fifth in the PAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll) at the beginning of the season. Our strong team came out of nowhere and I think that made it more emotional after we won.”
When informed by Westminster Director of Athletics Jim Dafler and Westminster Marketing Specialist Derek Buck, the realization of this incredible accomplishment settled in for Emily. “I was humbled and realized how special this all was, and honestly, I realized how proud I was to be a Titan,” Emily said.
Lacrosse is more of a fast-pace, full-speed, and loud communication sport, where golf is more of a steady, calm, and quiet sport. Emily, however, appreciates and embraces these vast differences between the two sports. “I really enjoy the balance between the two sports,” Emily explained. “I’ve always been involved in the loud, fast-paced sports early in my childhood and in high school. Golf was a sport I only began playing competitively my sophomore year [in high school], so the change in energy was different for me. I struggle with the often-constant silence, which is why I was always looking for something else to supplement it. I need the balance of the two sports because although I love golf, the quietness of the sport drives me crazy.”
During her first-year at Westminster, Emily was looking for that counter sport. When Westminster women’s lacrosse became an official varsity sport during the 2017 season (Emily’s first year on campus), Emily was interested, but thought she was not allowed to play both sports at the same time. After she found out that information was incorrect, Emily reached out to head women’s lacrosse coach Kim Eldridge the following year. “(Coach Eldridge) was so open to having me be a part of the team, even though golf would overlap sometimes,” Emily said. “Coach Torrence was extremely encouraging and wanted me to get the most out of my four years here. I think after realizing that I had two amazing coaches who were fully supportive of me playing both sports, I realized this was a practical thing for me to do. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but I somehow made it work. It’s still hard when I have to choose one sport over the other because I truly want to be with both teams equally, but I’m grateful that I get to be a part of two amazing teams.”
Emily, who in high school at South Park was a Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) qualifier on the golf team – finishing in the top-10 in the championship, has been working on her golf game for years. South Park, however, did not offer lacrosse. Lacrosse was a completely new endeavor. “I knew absolutely nothing when I decided to play,” Emily said when asked about lacrosse. “I had teammates that always worked with me before and after practices to allow me to achieve the skill level I needed to make an impact on the team.”
As a two-sport student-athlete, you are not only balancing event schedules but practice and training schedules as well. “Practice was even more important to me when I’m playing both sports at the same time,” Emily explained. “I would sometimes finish lacrosse practice and head straight to the golf course or (Westminster’s Bill Rankin Indoor Golf Center) to get some swings in and work on my golf game. I would be exhausted by the end of the day, but I would feel better about my abilities on the field and on the course.”
Balancing school and athletics are hard enough for any student-athlete. Emily, a Criminal Justice Studies major, has not only been successful on the playing surface, but has also gotten it done in the classroom as she has been named on the PAC and Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Academic Honor Roll lists.
Overall on the golf course, Emily finished in fifth for the first All-PAC First Team honor of her career. For the season, Emily led the Titans in average and top-10 finishes (7). Her three top-5 finishes tied for first on the team. In other words, out of the nine events, Marcus finished in the top-10 seven times or better. Westminster, winning its first PAC Championship since 2012, advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. On the lacrosse field, Marcus set career-highs in ground balls (22), caused turnovers (10), and assists (3). Marcus was part of Westminster’s defense that ranked second in the PAC in goals against average. Westminster, in only its third year of existence, claimed the PAC title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament winning its First Round-matchup in the program’s first-ever post-season run. The Titans concluded the season 15-3 overall and a perfect 7-0 in the PAC, both school records.
“Maybe I could be significantly more improved in golf or lacrosse if I were to choose one,” Emily said. “[However], I wouldn’t get to have the experiences I have been able to have and I wouldn’t have had as much fun doing it.”

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