Merrimack College captain Hunter Schmell strolled into the postgame press conference at Gillette Stadium holding the championship trophy in both arms, a huge smile on his face.
He had tied a piece of net to his hat, which read "NAT18NAL CHAMPIONS" on the front. All that was missing was a victory cigar.
After suffering heartbreak in the same venue a year ago, Schmell (Woodstock, Vt.) was going to enjoy every bit of this moment. Merrimack had just trounced Saint Leo (Fla.), 23-6, in the 2018 Division 2 championship game for the Warriors’ first national title in program history.