Santa Surprises Team Impact Draftee During Otterbein Game

Santa Surprises Team Impact Draftee During Otterbein Game

By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Over the weekend the Capital women's basketball team had two special guests at The Capital Center Performance Arena. Ironically, one of the visitors was in attendance to pay a visit to the other and to begin spreading holiday cheer a little early.

Mercadize Paver, the Crusaders' first-ever Team IMPACT draft pick, came to cheer on the women's basketball team in its annual rivalry contest with Otterbein University on Saturday, December 9. The entire Paver family joined Mercadize and at halftime received a special surprise from a long-distant visitor.

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, also known by his alias "Santa Claus", made a pit stop in Columbus and made his way to Bexley for a few moments. As Santa made his way to the center of the floor, smiles from the Paver clan glowed as he approached. With the assistance of Head Coach Dixie Jeffers and senior guard Annika Wachtman, Santa gave Mercadize and her siblings an early Christmas present to start the holiday season off warmly.

Mercadize joined the women's basketball team in late October when she was selected by Coach Jeffers and signed her letter of intent through the Team IMPACT Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Project. Nine-year-old Mercadize is a native of Marysville, Ohio

Though Otterbein played the role of the Grinch in this particular matchup between the two rivals, all of our hearts grew three sizes that day and Mercadize continues to have the strength of 10 Grinches, plus two!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Capital Women's Basketball and Capital Athletics!  


Team IMPACT is a national nonprofit that connects children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses with the support system of a college sports team. Through the Team IMPACT CF Project sponsored by Vertex Pharmaceuticals, children who have CF like Mercadize are drafted onto local college athletic teams and become an official member of the team to support the child's physical, social and emotional needs. If you know a child who may be interested or for more information, visit for more information.