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Back-to-back! Gannon Athletics repeats as PSAC’s Dixon Trophy champion

Published: 05/18/2023

GU becomes the first Western Division school to claim consecutive PSAC all-sports titles

GU becomes the first Western Division school to claim consecutive PSAC all-sports titles

Gannon University has repeated as the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference's Dixon Trophy champion, PSAC Commissioner Steve Murray announced today on the Gannon campus.

The Golden Knights claimed the Dixon Trophy as the conference's all-sports champion for the first time in 2021-22 as Gannon became the first Erie County university and the first non-PASSHE institution to win the trophy. This year, Gannon also tied California (Pa.) for the most Dixon Trophy wins (two) by a PSAC Western Division team and became the first PSAC West team to claim back-to-back Dixon Trophy titles.

Murray presented the trophy to Gannon University officials on Thursday at the steps of Old Main as GU coaches and administrators watched.

"Securing the Dixon Trophy in back-to-back years is a testament to the student-athletes, coaches, and our entire department," said Director of Athletics Lisa Goddard McGuirk. "Their collective commitment to excellence is evident by what we have accomplished.  Our student-athletes and coaches continue to raise the standard in competition, classroom, and community.  We will enjoy this moment together and focus our attention on next year's possibilities."

"We are proud of our student-athletes, coaches and athletics staff for this well-earned recognition," said Gannon University President Keith Taylor, Ph.D. "Bringing home the Dixon Trophy two years in a row is a testament to their focus and commitment through their intense training and competition in the sports that they love. It is an exciting and historic day for Gannon's athletics programs revealing the heart and growing tradition of the Golden Knights."

Dixon Trophy points are awarded based on 18 PSAC schools, with 18 points going to the champion in each sport and 17 going to the runner-up, and so on. When fewer than 18 schools compete in a sport, the points awarded for that sport are prorated accordingly. The trophy is named in honor of F. Eugene Dixon, Jr., former chairman of the Board of Governors of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education.

Gannon finished with an overall average of 12.66 points per sport in 2022-23 to edge runner-up West Chester, which had a 12.34 average. Slippery Rock was third with 11.79.
Gannon led all PSAC women's sports programs with an average of 13.56 points, again edging West Chester (13.27). The Gannon men (11.75) tied East Stroudsburg for third while trailing only IUP (12.75) and Slippery Rock (11.93) in the men's standings.

Gannon's consistent excellence was the key to the Knights' success in 2022-23. After a strong start in the fall, the Golden Knights were in first place in the Dixon Trophy standings wire to wire, leading all 18 PSAC schools after the fall and winter seasons before securing the title this spring.

Two GU teams won PSAC Tournament titles – women's volleyball and women's golf – and several other Gannon teams finished among the top three in their sports.
The football team tied for the PSAC West regular-season title, and the women's soccer and women's basketball teams each won the PSAC West regular-season title and finished as the PSAC Tournament runner-up. The men's golf team and men's swimming and diving team each placed second at the PSAC Championships, and the men's wrestling team finished second in the PSAC standings.

Ten of Gannon's 16 teams that compete in the PSAC finished with 13 points or more. Twelve of the 16 had at least 10 points.

Gannon's women's volleyball team led the way, collecting 18 points after winning titles in the PSAC West, PSAC Tournament, and NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional. The women's golf team recently completed its season after winning its fourth consecutive PSAC championship to capture 18 more Dixon Trophy points.

This year marks the 26th time the PSAC has recognized a Dixon Trophy recipient since its inception in 1995-96. Shippensburg has the most titles with eight, followed by West Chester (five), Bloomsburg (three), Lock Haven (three), Gannon (two) and Cal U (two).

Gannon joined the PSAC in 2008-09 and had never finished higher than sixth in the Dixon Trophy standings before winning in 2021-22.

The GU athletic department is also faring well on the national level. After the winter sports seasons, Gannon was in 47th place among more than 220 Division II institutions in the Learfield Directors' Cup standings, which measure the top athletic programs in the nation. The final Learfield standings will be announced in June after all Division II championships are completed.

Gannon also has had success in non-PSAC sports that don't compete in the NCAA. The acrobatics & tumbling team advanced to the NCATA national quarterfinals and won two event national titles. The competitive cheer and dance teams qualified for the NCA & NDA Collegiate Championship national finals in three divisions. The GU women's wrestling team finished 10th nationally in the NCWWC Championships.

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