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Head Football Coach
Maple Grove quarterback, Carson Crist, 1st Team Class D, Post Journal and 3rd Team All WNY selection this past fall has committed to Mercyhurst University. The 6-foot-2 signal caller will strap on the pads for Laker Nation as a punter.
Maple Grove coach Justin Hanft said Mercyhurst is the right fit for Crist.
“Carson is just coming into a zone athletically,” said Hanft, who played & coached collegiately at Alfred University. “He has a big frame and will continue to grow into that at the next level. He has been successful in everything he has played at Maple Grove. He is the perfect addition to their program. He works hard, he is talented, and he is coachable. With the added time and attention, he will receive from the staff at Mercyhurst, I can’t wait to see what he is able to accomplish.”
Crist, a three-sport athlete, helped Maple Grove reach Class D Section VI finals in his first season as a starter at QB. He threw for 1,604 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also added 4 additional touchdowns via rushing and receiving. Crist was an anchor on defense for the Red Dragons as well, totaling 50 tackles, 2 interceptions and 3 sacks.
When asked about the opportunity to play at Mercyhurst Carson said, “The main reason I chose Mercyhurst was that I felt at home when I was there. It has such a great atmosphere and the coaches and players genuinely loved being a part of the University. Another huge factor for me was them having my intended major, cyber security. I am so excited to get there, and I cannot wait to start training!”
Reflecting back on the 2018 football season Crist said, “This past season was by far the best in my career. Coach Hanft came in and created an environment that my teammates and I wanted to get involved with. Having a small team of 21 players made the milestones that were achieved, that much more impressive. We had a lot of fun and created memories between players and coaches that I will never forget.”
Crist has also excelled off the gridiron. Achieving CCAA Division 1 First Team Basketball nominations in 2016-2017 & 2017-2018. Just a few weeks ago Crist eclipsed the 1,000-point mark in his basketball career and joins an elite group of only six athletes at Maple Grove to ever reach that milestone on the hardwood. In 2018 Crist received 8th place in the NYS small schools Pentathlon and 2nd place in the WNY small school Pentathlon in Track.
Crist will be suiting up under Head Coach Marty Schaetzle. Mercyhurst plays in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) that participates in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II level. The Lakers finished the 2018 campaign 5th in the west at 5-6, ending strong by winning their final three games.