Northeast, Hobgood jump to TIC

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 19, 2004

MERRY HILL – There will be a major change in the landscape of North Carolina Independent School conference affiliation starting next fall.

Tarheel Independent Conference (TIC) President John Fencik, Lawrence Academy’s Headmaster, announced Monday morning that Northeast Academy and Hobgood Academy will join the league this fall.

&uot;All of the participating schools of the Tarheel Independent Conference are delighted to have Hobgood Academy and Northeast Academy joining the league,&uot; Fencik said. &uot;I think this shows the strength of our league.

&uot;We look forward to working with both schools to improve athletics for all of the young men and young women who participate at the now seven schools in our league,&uot; he added.

Northeast and Hobgood join a league already proud in tradition and one that holds several already-formed rivalries. The league membership currently consists of Lawrence Academy in Merry Hill, Ridgecroft School in Ahoskie, Terra Ceia Christian School in Pantego, Pungo Christian Academy in Belhaven and Albemarle Academy in Elizabeth City.

Northeast Academy, based in Lasker, has a long-standing rivalry with Ridgecroft and has played all the schools in the TIC in recent years.

Athletic Director Joella Brown feels the fit is a very natural one.

&uot;We’ve been dealing with the folks in the Tarheel Independent Conference for a long time,&uot; Brown said. &uot;We have a very good rapport and I think that this is a good fit for us.

&uot;We’re excited to be joining the TIC and to have the opportunity to work even closer with the people we’ve come to know over the years,&uot; she said. &uot;I believe having Northeast and Hobgood join the TIC is good for all of us.&uot;

Both Northeast and Hobgood currently compete in the Carolina Academies Conference (CAC). That league, however, has only four members due to the closing of both N.E.W. Academy and The Enfield Academy.

Halifax Academy and Tarboro-Edgecombe Academy are currently the other members. No announcement of Tarboro-Edgecombe or Halifax’s intention has been made, but most sources indicate Halifax will attempt to join a 2-A league.

&uot;We did everything we could to save the CAC, but it became apparent that wasn’t going to happen,&uot; Hobgood Athletic Director Bruce Henderson said.

&uot;That being said, we are really satisfied, extremely excited to join the TIC,&uot; he added. &uot;We play all the schools in that conference already and we have a great relationship with those folks.&uot;

Henderson said joining the TIC would allow the Raiders to have a volleyball conference and would solidify the school’s standing in golf.

&uot;You have to think about more than just basketball,&uot; Henderson said. &uot;It’s important for our young men and women to have the chance to compete for a conference championship in the minor sports also.

&uot;We feel the TIC is an excellent conference and hopefully we’ll be able to add to it,&uot; Henderson said. &uot;Joining the league is a real plus to our athletic program.&uot;

Doug Cobbs, Ridgecroft’s Athletic Director and the senior member of athletics in the TIC, said he thought the addition of the two schools would be a plus for both parties.

&uot;We’re looking forward to having them in the league,&uot; Cobbs said. &uot;I think it’s a good move for both of us – those two schools and the conference.

&uot;I think it makes our conference stronger,&uot; he continued. &uot;We’re adding two programs that are well-established throughout the state.&uot;

Terra Ceia Christian School Headmaster Ken Leys agreed.

&uot;I consider this a very positive thing for the conference,&uot; he said. &uot;I think this will make us more competitive.&uot;

Northeast and Hobgood will begin competition in the Tarheel Independent Conference at the beginning of the 2004-2005 school year.