There’s plenty to be excited about at Mount Marty College, Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) commissioner Corey Westra told a Yankton audience on Wednesday.

From the addition of football, construction of an athletic fieldhouse, renovations to Cimpl Arena, addition of competitive cheer & dance, and upcoming name change to Mount Marty University, there’s plenty of buzz, Westra said at Yankton Quarterback Club.

“The league is tremendously excited you’re adding football,” the long-time commissioner told the crowd.

Mount Marty will make its football debut in 2021, and Westra reminded the crowd that the Lancers’ first GPAC game will be at home against rival Dakota Wesleyan — Saturday, Sept. 4 at Crane-Youngworth Field.

“It’s going to be an electric atmosphere,” Westra said.

The addition of Mount Marty to the GPAC lineup will give the conference 11 teams for football, which presents a 10-game schedule that alleviates non-conference headaches, according to Westra.

The opening week of the 2021 season could allow Mount Marty to schedule a non-conference game, but that has not been announced yet. That following week, the Lancers will make their GPAC debut against the conference’s other South Dakota squad (DWU).

“We didn’t really try to have it be South Dakota/South Dakota, but it worked out that way,” Westra said.

“That’ll be a fun way to start football at Mount Marty.”

Mount Marty will also have home games in the 2021 season with Briar Cliff, Northwestern, Concordia and Hastings, and will play road games at Jamestown Morningside, Dordt, Doane and Midland.

Last April, Mount Marty broke ground on the $15 million, 100,000-square foot Ruth Donohoe First Dakota Fieldhouse, which is scheduled to be completed this August.

The facility will feature an eight-lane, 200-meter track, which Westra said will become the fifth such indoor complex in the GPAC — Concordia, Doane, Dordt and Dakota Wesleyan also have indoor facilities.

“That’s tremendously exciting for the conference, because a lot of conferences struggle to have one,” Westra said.

On Saturday, Mount Marty made its debut in the GPAC Cheer & Dance Championships, which capped off the debut season for the Lancers.

Two weeks ago, Mount Marty announced that it will change its name to Mount Marty University effective July 1.

Collectively, the additions and changes are a credit to MMC president Marc Long, the Board of Trustees, athletic director Chris Kassin, his staff and the Lancer coaches, according to Westra.

“Mount Marty is really making a surge here,” he said.

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