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  • Val T.

Northwestern to replace North Miami, join TRC in 2024-25


Sports Editor, RTC

Northwestern High School will join the Three Rivers Conference for the 2024-25 school year, according to a Friday press release.

The addition of Northwestern comes one day after the Hoosier North Athletic Conference announced that North Miami would be leaving the TRC and moving to that conference.

North Miami confirmed on their own social media accounts Friday that they are moving to the Hoosier North.

Northwestern High School is located at 3431 County Road North 400 West, Kokomo, and gives the TRC a footprint in Howard County.

Wabash athletic director and TRC Premier Floyd McWhirt said in its press release that North Miami asked to be released from the TRC on May 1 with a two-year notice per the TRC constitutional bylaws.

TRC administrators then met on May 24 and decided to invite Northwestern. Northwestern accepted the following day.

The administrators agreed that North Miami would be released from the conference at the end of the 2023-24 school year and that Northwestern would join in 2024-25.

The addition of Northwestern is the latest in a conference shake-up that began March 31 when Tippecanoe Valley announced that they were leaving the TRC for a new, yet-to-be-named conference in 2024-25. Valley was then voted out of the conference, effective at the end of this school year, because they “did not meet the two-year standard for notification to leave the TRC as per the constitution.”

Valley will compete as an independent in 2023-24 before joining their new conference with Bremen, Jimtown, John Glenn, Knox and LaVille.

The TRC then invited Lewis Cass to replace them on April 24, and Lewis Cass accepted the offer on April 25.

Both Lewis Cass and Northwestern moved from the Mid-Indiana Conference to the Hoosier Conference in 2015, and now both move to the TRC. They join Peru and Maconaquah as former Mid-Indiana Conference members in the TRC.

An overview of Northwestern athletics

  • Northwestern is in Class 3A for volleyball, football, girls basketball, boys basketball, softball and baseball and Class 2A for girls soccer and boys soccer.

  • Led by coach Kathie Layden, who announced her retirement at the end of the season, Northwestern has won five sectionals, three regionals, three semistates and two state titles in girls basketball in the last seven years. The program has produced three Division I players during that time – Madison Layden (Purdue), Kendall Bostic (Illinois) and McKenna Layden, a 2023 grad who will begin her college career at Purdue in the fall. Madison and McKenna Layden are sisters and daughters of Kathie Layden. They will be the first ever sister tandem to play for Purdue women’s basketball.

  • Kathie Layden also coached the Northwestern girls tennis team, which won its seventh straight sectional this spring. Northwestern is also a two-time reigning sectional champion in boys tennis.

  • Northwestern won the girls track sectional on May 16. It was their fourth sectional title in the last decade. The Northwestern boys track team was 10th at this year’s Kokomo sectional. Northwestern has never won a sectional in boys track.

  • Northwestern has also won four volleyball sectionals since 2017.

  • Northwestern has won 10 baseball sectionals, most recently in 2021. The most prominent Northwestern baseball alum is Brandon Beachy, who pitched for the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers from 2010-15.

  • Northwestern went 3-24 in softball this spring, but they have won five sectionals, including one as recently as 2013.

  • Northwestern went 14-7 in boys soccer last fall and won a 2A sectional title, their 10th in school history. The girls soccer team went 15-3-1.

  • Northwestern’s girls golf team advanced to the regional last fall, and they have six sectional titles in their history, most recently in 2014.

  • Northwestern had the top two individuals at the Logansport girls cross-country sectional last fall in Hannah Moore and Courtney Adams. Adams will be a senior in 2024-25. Northwestern also won a sectional in boys cross-country in 2021, which was their first since 1989.

  • Northwestern finished in 10th place at the Oak Hill wrestling sectional. They had two individual regional qualifiers, including Jansen Slate, who won the 145-pound sectional title and was a semistate qualifier.

  • Northwestern won the 2007 Class 2A boys state title with a double-overtime victory over Winchester at Gainbridge (then Bankers Life) Fieldhouse. Coach Jim Gish has won 260 games in 19 seasons, including four sectionals, two regionals, one semistate and the 2007 state title.

  • Northwestern went 2-8 in football last fall. They have had only one winning season since leaving the Mid-Indiana Conference, which coincides with John Hendryx leaving Northwestern for the Knox job. Hendryx never had a losing season during his eight-year run at Northwestern. Hendryx led Northwestern to a sectional title in 2007, his first year there. They have not won a sectional since.

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