ST. PAUL — The University of St. Thomas said goodbye to 100 years of history Thursday and hello to a brand new future.
"It's probably a huge culture shock coming our way," women's hockey senior defenseman Anna Erickson said.
The Division I dream is now reality for St. Thomas. Thursday the Tommies became the first school in the modern era to jump from Division III to Division I. They are now members of the Summit League, Pioneer League in football, the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. It's a transformation for the former Fargo North hockey standout that was she wasn't counting on.
Another big step #ForwarD1 today - our first official day as a Division I institution! @UofStThomasMN— St. Thomas Athletics (@TommieAthletics) July 1, 2021
Couldn't be more excited to join @thesummitleague @PFLNews @WCHA_WHockey and @CCHAHockey #RollToms pic.twitter.com/3yEYpqJQFm
"Going from being a Division 3 athlete to a Division 1 athlete it comes with a lot. It became more of a goal as a team to get to the D-1 level."
Josh Rodenbiker was a two-sport standout at Shanley High School, helping the Deacons to a state football title in 2009. Rodenbiker went to St. Thomas and graduated from the school in 2015. He's been an assistant on the men's basketball team ever since and reality is starting to set in about a change to his resume.
"It's pretty special to see that stuff start to come to fruition and see that go from vision to reality."
Today's the day many have been waiting for! 👏— The Summit League (@thesummitleague) July 1, 2021
St. Thomas officially joins The Summit League becoming the 10th full-time member.
Here's 10 Things To Know About The Tommies
🗞️: https://t.co/uyNuTAqF0O#ReachTheSummit pic.twitter.com/YARAkIk40k
Erickson will transition from matchups against Hamline and Concordia to now playing the top teams in the country in Minnesota and the two-time defending national champions from Wisconsin.
"Just stepping on the ice against the Gophers and Badgers it will be nerves, but also being confident in everything we put into it. "
For Rodenbiker; family loyalties will be tested for a pair of games when the Tommies play North Dakota State.
"With having my parents there and seeing so many great people around the community. It's going to be a challenge going up against a really good basketball team."
St. Thomas is scheduled to play its first D-I football game September 4th against the University of Saint Francis from Illinois. The men's basketball team will play in Fargo at the Scheels Center on January 13th.
There will be more a few more Fargo athletes attending St. Thomas this fall. Shanley's Lander Friedrichs will play volleyball for the Tommies, North's Aiden Carlson will suit up for Glenn Caruso and the football team, while hockey standout Abby Promersberger will skate this winter.