Home of The Saints

Mercier Named to 2019-20 GNAC SAAC Commissioner's Council

Mercier Named to 2019-20 GNAC SAAC Commissioner's Council

WINTHROP, Mass. – A year removed from the official formation of a league-wide Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), Great Northeast Athletic Conference Commissioner Joe Walsh is pleased to announce the GNAC SAAC Commissioner's Council for the 2019-20 academic year.

The foursome will feature Colby-Sawyer College baseball senior Ben Lewis (Needham, Mass.), Emmanuel College men's soccer/men's lacrosse junior Morgan Mercier (Lincolnville, Maine), Johnson & Wales University (RI) field hockey junior Natalie Rivas (Andover, N.J.), and Saint Joseph's College of Maine track & field senior Lillian Bisset (Jefferson, Maine). 

The leadership team of Lewis, Mercier, Rivas and Bisset will work closely with GNAC national SAAC representative Mikayla Arimura (San Clemente, Calif.), a JWU women's volleyball senior student-athlete, to enhance the GNAC's SAAC efforts and create a communication channel with the conference office and administrators spanning all 13 core member institutions. For more on Arimura's appointment as the GNAC's national rep, please click here

Identified as a strategic recommendation stemming from the GNAC's NCAA Conference Self-Study Guide (CSSG) back in 2018, last year the GNAC launched a conference SAAC featuring three student-athletes from each of the league's 13 schools. With the support of the GNAC Presidents' Council, it is part of the conference's plan to further emphasize the student-athlete experience and promote student-athlete success through its strategic planning efforts.

Along with Arimura, the four student-athletes will head to Anaheim this January to attend the 2020 NCAA Convention under the guidance of Commissioner Walsh and GNAC Assistant Commissioner Michael Ghika.

The group will also play a role in the upcoming GNAC Fall SAAC Forum at Emmanuel this December, as well as the GNAC Spring SAAC Forum next March in Boston.

Last year's December event saw SAAC members partner with Special Olympics Massachusetts for a unified kickball game at Emmanuel, an experience that was nominated for the NCAA Division III February 2019 Special Olympics Spotlight Poll. 

Lewis, a 6-1 left-handed hitting outfielder for the Chargers, appeared in nine games for Colby-Sawyer last spring and is a Sport Management major. 

"I am absolutely thrilled and honored to be part of this group," said Lewis. "The opportunity to represent Colby-Sawyer while working with this great group of student-athletes and the GNAC staff is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I look forward to giving all of the athletes in our conference a voice and chance to be heard."
 
Mercier appeared in 13 games at midfield for the Saints' men's soccer program last fall before appearing in 17 games this past spring for the EC men's lacrosse squad. For more on the two-sport Business Management major, please click here
 
Said Mercier: "I am so humbled to be appointed to the GNAC SAAC Commissioner's Council amongst other leading student-athletes. The opportunity to be selected means so much to me and I feel as though I can offer a unique perspective, having experiences from both the Emmanuel soccer and lacrosse teams – two teams that will certainly benefit me for years to come afterwards. This exclusive opportunity will help me learn from others and be a part of something larger than myself, which is what Division III athletics is all about."
 
Rivas, a Sports, Entertainment and Event Management major, has 13 goals and seven assists for 33 points in 46 career games for the Wildcats.
 
Said Rivas: "I'm honored to be serving on the SAAC Commissioner's Council for the GNAC. I hope to have a future career in college athletics or professional sports, and being a D-III athlete has provided me with some of the best experiences and opportunities. As a student-athlete, I want to give back to my university and to the community, and SAAC is the best opportunity for me to do that. I want to make a difference for student-athletes not just at JWU, but for athletes across the GNAC." 
 
Bisset is a member of the Monks indoor and outdoor track & field programs, as the GNAC will host its inaugural indoor meet on Sunday, February 16, 2020 at Boston University's Track & Tennis Center. The Criminal Justice major finished second at the 2019 GNAC Outdoor Championship in the women's 100M high hurdles with a time of 16.84. 
 
Said Bisset: "Being on the GNAC SAAC Commissioner's Council means that I am able to grow as an individual not only through athletics but through my personal skills. I have been able to build many different relationships and connections that I never could have dreamed of. To be selected to represent my school, as well as the GNAC, is very humbling and I am grateful for the opportunities and experiences the GNAC has given me and will continue to give me." 

Arimura, Mercier and Bisset were all inattendance on August 7 at the 2019 GNAC Hall of Fame Induction in East Boston. The three were involved in the honorees' introductions, as Arimura introduced JWU's Lamonte Thomas, Mercier introduced Emmanuel's Iman (Davis) Barbosa, and Bisset welcomed Albertus Magnus College's Ray Askew. 

*Release courtesy of GNAC Athletic Communications