Northern cancels remainder of softball season

Apr. 15, 2014 @ 11:42 PM

Northern Vance has canceled the remainder of its softball season and the rest of the Vikings’ games will be forfeited.

Jeff Arthurs, Northern’s athletics director, said the decision was based on numbers.

“Basically, we didn’t have enough people to continue the season,” said Arthurs.

Northern’s fellow 3-A Big Eight Conference member, Southern Durham, has also canceled the remainder of its season.

Northern started the season with 16 players.

The Vikings competed in four games, losing each one, before the season halted near the end of March. Their last competition was a 31-0 loss March 24 at Orange.

Arthurs said some players wanted to continue the season.

“We had some injuries, some academic issues, just some people that found jobs and that sort of thing,” said Arthurs.

The Vikings didn’t record a win last season, snapping a streak of six consecutive state playoff appearances.

Jon Russell led Northern to the state playoffs in each of his three seasons as head coach, posting a 51-18 record. The Vikings won consecutive 3-A Carolina Conference titles and finished fourth in the league in 2011 before Russell was relieved of his coaching duties. Russell was offered a chance to remain at the school as a teacher.

Brittany Robinson guided the Vikings to the state playoffs in 2012 before the winless campaign in 2013.

Northern entered the 2013 season without seven players from the previous year’s team. Most of those players either graduated or transferred. 

Robinson left Northern and was succeeded as head coach this season by Annie Machamer. Keyachtta Hawkins and Meredith Thompson joined Machamer on the staff, serving as associate coaches.

Northern made state playoff appearances in 13 of 18 seasons from 1995-2012.

“It’s disappointing,” said Arthurs. “We have a pretty long tradition of good softball teams.”

Arthurs said Northern “remains committed” to the softball program going forward.

“I think the numbers are just down in this area,” said Arthurs. “It’s not just us who are dealing with it.”

Southern Vance currently has 12 players on its roster. The Raiders, of the 2-A Northern Carolina Conference, have made seven consecutive state playoff appearances and 12 total postseason appearances.

Kerr-Vance and Crossroads Christian each compete in Class 1-A of the N.C. Independent School Athletic Association. KVA didn’t have enough players to field a team this season and Crossroads hasn’t fielded a varsity program since 2009.

KVA, which established its softball program in 2003, started the 2011 season with 10 players before it was eventually forced to cancel remaining games due to lack of players.

The Spartans made the 2-A state tourney in 2012 and didn’t field a team last season.


Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.