[This is the third post in a series titled “Gym tour: 2013-14” — click here to see all the posts in this series — in which I will profile the gymnasiums I travel to while covering high school sports.]
HUNTINGTON, Ind. — The third stop on the #SchanzGymTour takes me north to Huntington and Huntington North High School.
An Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) Class 4A school, Huntington North is the only high school in Huntington County and is roughly 25 miles southwest of Fort Wayne.
Established in 1969, HNHS serves two middle schools, six elementary schools and a K-8 school in the Huntington County Community School Corporation.
The gymnasium, which is home to the Vikings, was built in 1975 and has a capacity of 5,500. It is also home to the boys and girls basketball teams and volleyball team. The gym was built under the same roof as the high school’s auditorium.
The Vikings, donning their red and white, are members of the North Central Conference, which covers eight counties in, well, the North Central region of Indiana. At the conclusion of this school year, Harrison (West Lafayette), Jefferson and McCutcheon (both in Lafayette) will join the NCC. After 2014-15 school year, however, the Vikings will leave the NCC for a conference-to-be-named-later.
With an unofficial enrollment of approximately 1,700 students, Huntington North is the third largest school in the NCC behind Anderson and Kokomo. HNHS will fall to fifth largest next year when Jefferson and McCutcheon join the conference.
Two state championship teams have played home games in this arena. The girls basketball program won a state title in 1990 and then again in 1995. It’s respectable postseason accolades include 18 sectional championships and eight regional championships. The most recent sectional title came in 2006, the third straight for the Vikings, and 2000 was the team’s last regional title.
Although the boys program does not have as many regional championships as the girls (two, most recent coming in 1999), the boys team does have 22 sectional titles. However, the Vikings have not won a sectional championship since 2002.
The HNHS volleyball team has earned 11 sectional championships, including four out of the last six years. The Viking spikers only have one regional title and are still searching for their first state title.
The volleyball and basketball teams are also sectional opponents of Jay County High School. The Class 4A Sectional 6 is a five-team sectional, consisting of those two schools, Homestead (Fort Wayne), Fort Wayne South Side and Fort Wayne Wayne high schools.
As is with most Indiana gymnasiums (I’ve noticed) balcony seating is a commonplace, and Huntington North is no exception. Balcony seating is located on all sides of the court, with stairs located at each corner of the gym. The sidelines have 16 rows of bleachers, and the ends of the court have two rows of actual seats. There are 12 rows of seats on the lower level of the gymnasium, with bleachers running the entire length of the court and on the baselines as well.
A scoreboard hangs in the center of the court, with smaller scoreboards located in the corners. Also on the corners are banners depicting the school’s conference championships.
The court does not run north-south or east-west, but in a southwest-northeast direction. The northern most part of the arena features banners from all of the NCC member schools. At the opposite end are the two state championship banners and a state runner-up banner from the 2012 softball team. Additionally, a retractable American flag is located at this end of the arena.
I covered a girls basketball game in this arena Jan. 14 between the host Vikings and the Jay County Patriots. The Patriots turned the ball over 24 times and shot just 25 percent from the field in a 52-34 loss to the Vikings. It was the third straight loss for the Lady Patriots.