A young person’s experience in athletics can be as influential as any other aspect of education at Mercersburg. Athletics at Mercersburg provides a prime venue for developing leadership skills, enhancing collaborative ability, and building the character necessary to gain success with honor and to persevere through adversity.
Each year, more than 80 percent of Mercersburg students participate in at least one of our 26 sports, filling 45 teams that offer varsity, junior varsity, and thirds levels. Participation fulfills the school’s Physical Education requirement and the Performance Group Activity expectation.
Rick Hendrickson (West Liberty State College-B.A., West Virginia University-M.A.) guides Mercersburg’s extensive interscholastic athletic program with a veteran perspective and a broad vision, culled from more than 30 years of coaching and teaching experience, as well as time spent expanding and directing the school’s summer programs.
One of the most successful coaches in recent school history, Hendrickson guided Mercersburg's wrestling program for 15 seasons, ending his head coaching tenure with325 overall career coaching victories. That span saw the Blue and White produce a bevy of school records, 28 National Prep place winners, 12 Pennsylvania independent school individual champions, and numerous other state place winners, as well as six conference team titles and several top postseason finishes. Hendricksonwas honored by his coaching peers at the 2008 National Prep Wrestling Tournament with the Neil Buckley Outstanding Service Award.
The West Virginia native’s athletic resume also includes lengthy service as a coordinator and position coach in football as well as a recent five-year span with the girls’ lacrosse program, where he was instrumental in the Blue Storm’s resurgence.
Hendrickson represents Mercersburg as the commissioner of the Independent-Parochial School League (IPSL), as secretary of the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL), and on the executive board of the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association (PAISAA).
Coach Hendrickson also serves as a member of the English Department. He and his wife Amy live near campus and are the parents of two Mercersburg graduates, Jennifer ’03 and Rachael ’06, as well as son Gabriel ’19.
Lauren Hoffman is an assistant director of athletics and Mercersburg’s head softball coach.
She came to Mercersburg in 2016 from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., where she was an event and operations assistant and managed game-day operations for numerous sports. She has been head softball coach at her high-school alma mater, Whitesboro High School in Marcy, N.Y. (where she also worked in athletic administration and coached junior-varsity field hockey, in addition to serving as an assistant softball coach before her promotion to head coach). Hoffman also worked as a volunteer assistant softball coach at NCAA Division I member Valparaiso University.
Hoffman played varsity softball and varsity ice hockey at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., where she was twice named All-Liberty League in softball and won the Athletic Director’s Award for leadership in hockey. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Union and a master’s in sport administration from Canisius College.
Paul Sipes is an assistant director of athletics and head coach of Mercersburg’s girls’ varsity basketball program.
Before coming to Mercersburg in 2016, Sipes spent the past 11 years as athletic director and head girls’ varsity basketball coach at Wakefield School in The Plains, Va., where he twice led the Fighting Owls to the Virginia Independent School Athletic Association state championship game. The team won Delaney Athletic Conference championships in 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014, and posted six 20-win seasons under Sipes.
Sipes has been named state coach of the year in both Maryland (by the Maryland Women’s Basketball Coaches Association in 2001) and Virginia (VISAA, 2013), and is a nine-time conference coach of the year. More than 30 of his former players have gone on to continue their basketball careers at the NCAA Division I, II, and III levels.
Sipes has worked as athletic director and head boys’ varsity basketball coach at St. Thomas More Preparatory School in Oakdale, Conn., and served as head coach for the Connecticut Storm Girls AAU Basketball Club. He has also coached at St. John’s at Prospect Hall (now St. John’s Catholic Prep) in Frederick, Md., at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Md., and for the Maryland Tornadoes AAU program and the Washington D.C. Maccabi girls’ basketball team.
Sipes also spent six years as assistant executive chairman of the VISAA, which also named him athletic director of the year in 2012. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and a master’s in social sciences from Wesleyan University.
After working for 20 years in the ski industry, Mike Collins (Berkshire Community College-A.S.) brought his considerable skills to Mercersburg, first as the athletic fields technician and then to Athletic Facilities Operations Supervisor, a position he holds today. Mike is a Certified Aquatic Facility Operator. Mike has been highly active in area youth sports for a number of years, serving as a board member and coach with the St. Thomas Sports Association, PONY baseball, and the Tuscarora Area Youth Soccer organizations.
Mike, who originally hails from New England and maintains his passion for the Boston Red Sox, resides in Mercersburg with his wife Debra. They are the parents of Caitlin and Michael ’14 (who plays baseball at Mount St. Mary’s University, a Division I school in Emmitsburg, Md.).
PAISAA, of which Mercersburg is a charter member, is the state athletic affiliation for independent schools, and is recognized by the National Federation of High Schools. Visit paisaasports.org.
Founded in 1893 in the heart of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic, Mercersburg is a private, coed, college preparatory boarding school with approximately 435 students (15 percent are day), grades 9-12 and postgraduate.
We offer 170 courses, including AP and Honors, more than $7 million in financial aid, 26 varsity sports, and a state-of-the-art performing and visual arts center. Located 90 minutes from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, and within easy driving distance of New York City, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. 300 East Seminary Street, Mercersburg, PA 17236 GPS Address: 10951 Buchanan Trail West, Mercersburg, PA 17236 717-328-6173