WOODWARD, Iowa – Woodward Academy will make an unlikely appearance for the first time in the Boys State High School Basketball Tournament. The Knights will face top seed Aplington-Parkersburg in round one of the 2A bracket.
The school was down 11 to Panorama in Sub-State. The Knights went on a 21-0 run to go on to win 46-36.
The school’s mission as a private academy is to take young men who have made bad decisions and try to give them some life guidance, before they return home. Many students are only at the school for one year, making a state tournament run even more impressive. The school has around 260 students enrolled.
Cade Iverson is the school’s Athletic Director. “Today I just can’t even describe,” said Iverson. “to walk on campus and to hear people talking about today, and what that means for our kids.”
Iverson said that no matter the score of the game, going to State is a win for his players. “It shows our students that with hard work, dedication, and some perseverance, you can accomplish things that no one outside Woodward Academy thought we could accomplish,” said Iverson.
The school also is known for outstanding power-lifting teams. the Knights also have football, baseball, track and cross country.
“Athletics played a huge part in keeping you focused,” said Iverson. “Hopefully we can use athletics as a tool here to point them in the right direction.”
The school’s mission is not athletics, but rather to help give troubled young men a new path to follow. “Our biggest mission is to take young men from all over the country, and help them see there are different things they can do to help them get on the right track.”
The students attend here usually due to a court order. It is a residential institution. “We do have a prep-school feel here where we try to make things seem as normal as possible for our students,” said Iverson. “It’s about helping them make better choices and become productive adults.”