In 2015-16, Northern Virginia Community College cel- ebrated its 50th Anniversay as an institution of high- er eduction. Intercollegiate athletics have been a long standing tradition of pride for NOVA since the College was founded.
But, what of the past? Well, athletics have been at NOVA from the very beginning in the form of a men’s basketball team formed that first year in 1965 at Northern Virginia Technical College. Known as the “Golden Eagles,” they went 13-2 and won the championship of their league under the direction of coach Russ Cordaro.
The modern day era of NOVA Athletics was established in 2011, when the College joined the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). NOVA sponsors three men’s varsity sports – basketball, lacrosse and soccer – and four women’s sports – basketball, volleyball, cross country and softball, along with three club sports – hockey, rugby and cheerleading, along with non-NJCAA sport esports.
Men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, men’s soccer, and men’s lacrosse were NOVA’s first teams as a member of the NJCAA. Women’s cross country was added in 2013 and softball was started in 2015.
During the 2014-15 academic year, NOVA had a college-wide survey to start the process of selecting a “new” mascot. Hundreds of names were offered and ultimately the name “Nighthawk” was selected by the campus community. The “Golden Eagle” name was never used in the current era of NOVA Athletics.
Once the Nighthawk name was selected in Spring 2015, students from the Alexandria Campus Communications Design program designed several mascot logos. Five designs were selected to be placed on a ballot and NOVA students, faculty and staff had the opportunity to vote for their favorite design. Jennifer Bradley’s de- sign won.
The volleyball team was the NJCAA Region 20 Division II champions and went to the national finals in Phoenix, Ariz., in 2014. In 2018 the Nighthawks repeated the feat after defeating undefeated and 17th ranked Montgom- ery in the Region 20 championship. In 2015, volleyball advanced to the NJCAA Region 20 Tournament semifi- nals. In 2017, the Nighthawks won the NJCAA Region 20 Division II regular season title and were the runners up in the region tournament.
In 2017, volleyball head coach Marcus Robinson be- came the first coach at NOVA to win 100 games. He accomplished the feat after defeating Allegany.
The men’s basketball team has been ranked as high as 10th in the country. The lacrosse and cross country pro- grams have also made appearances in the national rankings as well.
The men’s and women’s basketabll teams have had an NJCAA National Player of the Week. Samuel Taylor won the award in 2015 becoming the first in NOVA his- tory, Jalita Montgomery recieved the honor during the 2016-17 campaign. In the final week of the 2018-19 season Michael Elliot won the NJCAA National Player of the Week honor after dropping 41 points against Frederick.
NOVA started its newest intercollegiate program in 2018 with the launch of Esports.
The women’s cross country team won the four straight NJCAA Region 20 Division I championships between 2014 and 2017. The Nighthawks finished second in 2018.