After 42 years, one back-to-back state semifinal appearance in baseball, five consecutive third round playoff appearances in football and a state championship appearance in basketball, Northwood has never won an official state champion- ship. Some people blame it on a “curse.”
However, multiple sports have come very close to winning a state championship.
“I’ve coached in two state championships in basketball, 2009 and 2011, and in 2011 we had the lead with five minutes left in the game; we just couldn’t finish,” former assistant basketball coach Rick Parks said. “That was the closest I’ve ever come to winning one. We ended up losing the lead and we just couldn’t quite get it done.”
The football team made it to the third round of the playoffs five years in a row, but were stopped every time.
“Four out of the five were very good ball games; Reidsville kind of blew us out of there, but the other four games were very competitive,” head football coach Bill Hall said. “We had leads out of the first half; we had chances to win them, and we just didn’t get them done.”
There are many theories as to why Northwood has yet to win a state championship: they don’t try hard enough, their teams aren’t experienced enough, multiple new coaches in a relatively short amount of time and not enough support from the community.
“We lack school spirit, and if you lack school spirit, how can the players believe that ‘Oh the community is behind me, I’m going to give 110 percent, because not only am I playing for myself, I’m playing for my best friend in the stands who is yelling his head off,” assistant football coach Brian Harrington said. “It’s our mentality here at North- wood that keeps us from winning a championship.”
Some students, however, have a positive outlook for this year’s teams.
“I don’t think negatively towards [Northwood not winning a championship]; I feel it can be done if we work hard enough toward it,” sophomore basketball player Bryn Aydt said.
Many other students, all of whom seem to believe that the secret to winning a state championship lies in working harder, share this sentiment.
“It’s kind of sad that we haven’t won a state championship out of that many years, but there are a lot of other [schools] and I think we just need to step up our game,” sophomore volleyball player Briana Stone said.
Despite all of this, Northwood has won two unofficial state championships; they were unofficial due to the fact that one was a club sport instead of a varsity sport and the other was not a sanctioned North Carolina High School Athletics Association (NCHSAA) title.
In its maiden year, 2007, Ultimate Frisbee won the state championship.
“Mr. Thibault, our chair at the time, kept saying ‘forget dodge ball, this is the true underdog story,’” said P.E. teacher and boys basketball coach Alex Hart, a North- wood alum and member of the championship team. “It was neat, and to this day we are probably the biggest mystery to everybody involved in frisbee because we showed up once, won it and never came back.”
Because of its position as a club, the Ultimate Frisbee Championship does not count.
“I like to joke around, but it shouldn’t count,” social studies teacher and former coach Thibault said. “It wasn’t a real sport, it was a club.”
In 2006, 2007 and 2008 the Northwood cheerleaders made it to, and won, the state championship for com- petitive cheerleading. However, because of the fact that the competition was not a NCHSAA sanctioned event, it did not count as an official title.
With many of this year’s teams forecasted to do well, football is the supposed strong front-runner in carrying Northwood to it’s first state championship.
“[Football] has got a chance; we have 30 seniors and a very experienced team, so you know I’m not saying we will [win a state championship], but we’ve got a chance,” Hall said. “When the season is over, I think the teams around here are going to know we exist.”
– By Elizabeth Thompson