There have been 32 national champions in field hockey since the sport was added to the NCAA championship program in 1981. Maryland has fielded eight of those championship-winning teams, while the rest of the schools now in the Big Ten have won a total of two. With the addition of Maryland and Rutgers to the Big Ten, the conference will step up its level of competition to another level.

Maryland field hockey coach Missy Meharg has seen her share of success since taking over the program in 1988, earning seven national championships. Meharg said she is excited for her team’s opportunity in the Big Ten conference, but added that her dominant program’s philosophy will not change.

“The brand of hockey that Maryland plays is not going to change in any way, and I look forward to sharing our brand in the Big Ten,” Meharg said.

Rutgers looks to be a program on the rise after finishing 9-10 this year under first-year coach Meredith Long in the program’s best season since 2008.

Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz said the conference will benefit from the added depth.

“We’ll have a substantial, nine-team conference — one of the biggest and strongest conferences in the country,” said Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz. “I think it is great for our sport, and we’re excited about it.”

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