Michael Derringer wants to make the most of his senior season with the Northridge High School boys cross country team.

Michael Derringer wants to make the most of his senior season with the Northridge High School boys cross country team.

Derringer holds the program record of 17 minutes, 22.84 seconds and wants to lower that time.

"I figure it's my last year and I want to go all out," Derringer said. "I was putting in about 40 or 50 miles per week during the summer, which is way more than in the past. I wanted to be ready for the season."

The Vikings have seven runners on the boys team and only one girls runner under first-year coach Jennifer Ulery. Derringer is the program's only senior and junior Nathan Wigal and Ian Ware are the only other returning runners. The boys team is rounded out by sophomores Connor Johnson and Andrew Wigal as well as freshmen Jake Adkins and Noah Orcutt.

Sophomore Kaitlin Garee is the lone girls runner.

"I love that they are working hard and love that they are willing to do anything I ask of them," said Ulery, a language arts teacher at Northridge Middle School. "They are willing to run through pain."

The Vikings opened Aug. 24 in the New Albany Classic with the boys finishing 11th (298 points) of 14 teams behind champion Central Crossing (40). Derringer led Northridge by finishing 19th (18:36) followed by Adkins (42nd, 19:48), Nathan Wigal (78th, 21:04), Johnson (100th, 22:01), Orcutt (181st, 26:23) and Ware (187th, 27:07).

In the girls race, Garee finished 336th in 30:03. The Vikings did not have enough girls runners for a team score.

"We have four runners on the team who have never run before," said Ulery, who is assisted by Kim Garee. "We will work on building their endurance because they're not used to running as much."

One runner who was expected to return, junior Tyler Estep, moved to the Johnstown-Monroe district after the failure of the tax levy in May.

Ulery, a 1993 graduate of Northridge, took over the program in the summer after longtime coach Mike Dudgeon retired from teaching and coaching. He coached cross country for 32 years.

"I wanted to (coach) for the kids to make sure they have a team and get a chance to run," Ulery said. "It's been great working with them so far."

Last season, the Northridge boys team finished eighth (211) of 21 teams in the Division III district race at Watkins Memorial behind regional-qualifiers Liberty Union (67), Fredericktown (100), Galion Northmor (114) and Newark Catholic (163).

Derringer was 26th (17:51.82) to lead the Vikings, but did not advance; the top 16 individuals qualified for regional. Nathan Wigal (28th, 17:54.1) was next for Northridge followed by Estep (31st, 17:58.45) and 2011 graduate Will Bogantz (35th, 18:08.03).

The Northridge girls competed in the Division II, district 2 race, but did not have enough runners for a team score. Fredericktown (60) won the nine-team meet ahead of the other regional qualifiers in Grandview (62), Mount Gilead (75) and Fisher Catholic (89).

In the MBC meet at the Hartford Fairgrounds, the Northridge boys finished third (69) behind Fredericktown (44) and Centerburg (65) and ahead of East Knox (98), Loudonville (119), Johnstown (142) and Utica (192).

Derringer (sixth, 17:28) led the Vikings followed by Estep (eighth, 17:41), Nathan Wigal (12th, 17:54) and Bogantz (15th, 18:04).

In the MBC girls meet, Northridge did not have enough runners for a team score. Fredericktown (37) won followed by Johnstown (43), Centerburg (45) and Loudonville (103).