ATHLETICS: North Hardin Christian looks at move to KHSAA

North Hardin Christian School looks for a return to KHSAA. A member of the KCAA, NHC last was a KHSAA member in 2009.

It’s been over a decade since North Hardin Christian School in Radcliff was a member of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association. That may be changing soon.

The school recently began looking into a return to the KHSAA, with an application sent to the association to be considered.

NHC has been a member of the Kentucky Christian Athletic Association after leaving the KHSAA in 2009.

The KCAA lists 24 schools across four regions on its website. North Hardin Christian is currently a member of the KCAA Second Region.

North Hardin Christian administrator Paige Hardin explained the reason behind the request to move was in part due to travel issues as members of the KCAA. The schools, Hardin said, are spread across the state.

“NHC has been a member of the Kentucky Christian Athletic Association for several years. There we have had the opportunity to compete with like schools, and by that I mean schools our size and with similar challenges,” Hardin said. “The problem is that these schools are scattered throughout the state, places like Lexington, Somerset, Covington, Hopkinsville, which constitutes a lot of travel.”

Hardin added North Hardin Christian is not the only KCAA member currently requesting to join the KHSAA for this same reason. This only made having access to more local competition and less widespread travel a more important issue to resolve.

“In an effort to address these challenges, several schools inside the KCAA are making the move to the KHSAA,” Hardin said. “Fewer schools inside the KCAA only compounds travel concerns. Now, within the KHSAA there are several Christian schools to compete with.”

Hardin estimated a decision regarding the school’s application would likely be made some time in July. KHSAA Communications Director Joe Angolia added the association’s Board of Control would review the school’s application.

Hardin said the application process has been straightforward and that the KHSAA representatives the school has spoken with have been gracious.

If approved for the move, Falcons and Lady Falcons players will have to wait a couple of seasons before they can try to go on a postseason run. Angolia explained the school would be a probationary member and ineligible for the postseason for two years.

Hardin said many within the school’s community welcome the potential return.

“We enjoyed the time and benefits of being a member of the KHSAA,” Hardin said. “Our coaches, players and parents were excited as I know they will be about this move.”

If the move is approved, North Hardin Christian will have a new set of rules in place to comply with. In order to assist with this, the school is bringing in a new athletic director in Michaela Nault, who will start in August.

Nault replaces Cassie Holley, who was the school’s interim athletic director for the 2019-20 school year and has served as the athletic director on previous occasions. Holley is currently the middle school volleyball coach and was previously the varsity volleyball coach from 2001-2018.

Hardin said Nault has experience with the KHSAA, which was a factor in her hiring.

“We are confident her experience can help us to remain compliant,” Hardin said of Nault. “That is very important to our program.”

Some of the benefits the school hopes to experience with the move will be the sense of community that comes with playing local schools. North Hardin Christian, which offers preschool through high school education, was able to have its middle school teams compete against other area middle schools, which Hardin described as a great experience.

“We enjoyed meeting a lot of new people in the community,” Hardin said of the middle school programs’ experience.

Sports currently offered by North Hardin Christian include boys’ and girls’ basketball, volleyball, boys’ soccer, cheerleading, baseball, fast-pitch softball, cross-country and golf.

NHC last fielded a football team in 2009, its final KHSAA season. The Falcons were unable to continue to play football in the KCAA, which is not listed on the KCAA website as an available sport.

As of now, there is no plan to restart the football program as part of the school’s potential KHSAA return.

“I have learned to never say never, but we don’t currently have any plans to revive the program,” Hardin said. “We plan on focusing on strength and conditioning along with player development.”

The hopeful transition for the Falcons and Lady Falcons has generated excitement. Still, Hardin said the situation around COVID-19 and the safe reopening of the school later this year has to take precedence. Currently, North Hardin Christian plans to reopen on Aug. 4.

“Right now we are all faced with the challenges of how to safely reopen our schools,” Hardin said. “Given the opportunity, we look forward to the challenges of competing inside the KHSAA.”

Matt Tyson can be reached at 270-505-1754 or mtyson@thenewsenterprise.com.

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