PREP ATHLETICS: NHCS to stay in KCAA (08/11)

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By Josh Claywell

By JOSH CLAYWELL jclaywell@thenewsenterprise.com

RADCLIFF — After a two-year probationary period with the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, the administration at North Hardin Christian School has decided to stay in the Kentucky Christian Athletic Association.

The small private school plans to be an associate member of the KHSAA, meaning it can still compete with KHSAA schools.

“That probation, I’m sure, is for both parties to learn about each other,” North Hardin Christian principal and former football coach Paige Hardin said. “This being our second year, we are at a critical point where we’re going to have to make a decision. We have appreciated the time that we have had in the KHSAA. We have enjoyed the relationships with the people that we have met.”

Hardin, who is also the boys’ basketball coach and led the Falcons to the KCAA state title last spring, said the school had no intentions of becoming a full-fledged member of the KHSAA.

“We never planned on leaving the KCAA,” Hardin said. “We’ve always hoped that we could come in and work with the associate membership.

“We hope that works and will let us continue our relationship with the KHSAA.”

The volleyball team, which has won back-to-back KCAA state titles, had already been approved to join the 15th District for fall 2010, according to the KHSAA Web site.

North Hardin Christian would join area schools Central Hardin, Elizabethtown, Fort Knox, John Hardin and North Hardin as only the second six-team district in the state – the 49th District (Corbin, Knox Central, Lynn Camp, South Laurel, Whitley County and Williamsburg) is the other.

“I feel we’ve had some success. I think we were competitive,” longtime volleyball coach Cassie Holley said. “When we went to Louisville (for the Louisville Invitational Volleyball Tournament at Assumption last season), we enjoyed the competition. We got 23rd in a 24-team pool, but the girls were so excited to play in the tournament.”

The Lady Falcons are scheduled to compete again in the tournament this year, and Holley said the school plans on honoring all two-year contracts it signed last year with KHSAA schools.

“It just boils down to an administrative decision,” she said. “We’ve tried it, and we’ve made some two-year commitments that we’re going to fulfill. After that, we’re done.”

The move from the KCAA was originally meant to benefit the football team, which played in a Tennessee-based eight-man league in the 2007 season.

After playing several KHSAA schools last fall, North Hardin Christian petitioned the KHSAA to reform an eight-man league with other small schools across the state. The KHSAA eight-man state tournament was last played in 2002, when Louisville Kentucky Country Day won the title.

Hardin also said the school took issue with the KHSAA’s transfer rule. The KHSAA requires athletes who transfer to other KHSAA schools to sit out a year if they do not change residential addresses.

“What we struggle with, is there appears to be a penalty for young people who decide to pursue a Christian education in our environment,” Hardin said. “That is the part that we can’t deal with.

“We’re just forced to have to make a choice, and obviously our choice is to choose what’s best for our school and to give us the liberty to work with kids who choose a Christian education. It’s really that simple for us.”

Josh Claywell can be reached at 505-1752