The Northridge High School girls volleyball team returns six letterwinners from a team that finished 7-13 overall following a loss to top-seeded Pleasant in a second-round match of the Division III district tournament at Big Walnut.

The Northridge High School girls volleyball team returns six letterwinners from a team that finished 7-13 overall following a loss to top-seeded Pleasant in a second-round match of the Division III district tournament at Big Walnut.

The returning seniors are Genevieve Hager (outside hitter), Ann Sniechowski (setter) and Jessica Johnson (middle hitter). Also back are juniors Lauren Cornwell (outside hitter), Jessica Simmons (libero) and Dana VanDervort (outside hitter).

"We have a pretty good setter in Ann and Jessica (Simmons) has played well as a libero," said Christine Demas, who opens her seventh season as coach Tuesday at home in an MBC match against defending league champion Fredericktown. "Really, we've good team chemistry and the kids have worked very hard, so we should do well."

Right-side hitter/defensive specialist Brittany Miller is a senior for the Vikings. Other juniors include Amy Boesch (middle hitter), Emily Scott (middle hitter), Chelsea Tietz (outside hitter-setter). Kimberly Hazlett (outside hitter) is the lone sophomore on varsity.

"We need to work on our passing, but that's something we always need to work on," Demas said. Northridge finished sixth at 5-9 in the MBC.

"We continue to work on passing drills to keep getting better."

•Mike Dudgeon begins his 31st season as Northridge cross country coach with 14 runners, seven boys and seven girls.

The girls team is comprised of only juniors and seniors, but is lacking experience. The boys team only has sophomores and freshmen, but has several veteran runners.

The Vikings boys are led by sophomore Michael Derringer, who set the school record last fall in 17 minutes, 23 seconds. He did not run in the postseason after he contracted chicken pox during the week of the Division III district meet.

Also back are letterwinning sophomores Paul Hager, Joe Larson and Joe Pileski as well as first-year classmate Jake Choberka. The team's two freshmen, Tyler Estep and Nathan Wigal, both ran two years in middle school.

"We don't have any juniors or seniors, but Michael, Tyler and Nathan have been running for a while, even though it's a big step from running two miles in middle school to the 3.1 in high school," said Dudgeon, whose team competes Wednesday at Canal Winchester. "The boys have put in a lot of miles over the summer and they have been running pretty well in practice. Michael has been out in front, trying to pull someone up there with him, and Tyler and Nathan have been close to him. For being freshmen and sophomores, we could be pretty good for that age group."

The girls team has three returning letterwinners in senior Jessica Parkinson and juniors Kelsey Garrabrant and Emily VanNess. Parkinson has run all three years of high school and Garrabrant and VanNess are two-year runners.

Seniors Morgan Dixon and Faith McConnell are first-year runners as is junior Elise Ware. Junior Rachel Johnson ran cross country in Kansas last year before moving to the district.

"The girls are out and running hard, but they need more mileage," Dudgeon said. "Emily and Jessica are our front-runners but we have so many new runners.

"When someone is new to distance running, they are always afraid of starting too fast and not being able to finish the race. They just have to get out there and run to get better."