According to Northridge High School coach Gene Weil, reaching a regional track and field meet takes effort and confidence, but the ratio of those factors changes when an athlete attempts to qualify for state.

According to Northridge High School coach Gene Weil, reaching a regional track and field meet takes effort and confidence, but the ratio of those factors changes when an athlete attempts to qualify for state.

Three members of the Vikings girls team tried to do just that when they competed in the Division II regional that concluded May 26 at Lexington. The top four finishers in each event advanced to the state meet Friday, June 1, and Saturday, June 2, at Ohio State.

"I think track is probably 60 percent physical and 40 percent mental," said Weil, who is in his first season at Northridge but has coached cross country and track for more than 30 years at the high school and college levels. "But when you get to that (regional) level, it's so much mental. Everyone there has talent, so you're not going to get any stronger or faster, but it becomes more upstairs."

Junior Caitlyn Tulloss, sophomore Hayley Menix and freshman Ellie Shedloski advanced to regional after finishing in the top four in the district 1 meet that concluded May 19 at Westerville South.

Menix finished third in the long jump (15 feet, 2 3/4 inches) and fourth in the high jump (4-10). Shedloski was fourth in the long jump (15-2 3/4) and Tulloss placed fourth in the 400 meters (1 minute, 1.61 seconds).

"I want competitors (on the team), and these girls have shown me that they are competitors," said Weil, whose team finished eighth in district 1 with 28 points as 13 teams scored and Granville (176.5) was champion. "Caitlyn dropped her time by two seconds (at district) and really had a great performance."

The 400 relay of Menix, senior Jessica Holbrook, Tulloss and Shedloski just missed moving on, finishing fifth in 53.5. London was fourth in 53.15.

Shedloski finished sixth in the 100 (13.41).

The boys team finished 12th (1) in district 1 behind champion Eastmoor Academy (160).

The only point came from junior Kyle Wilbur, who placed eighth in the 400 in 2:11.12.

Softball team falls in district final

The softball team could not overcome a five-run deficit and lost to Fairbanks 6-4 in a Division III district final May 19 at Pickerington Central.

The Vikings finished 15-13, falling short of winning the program's first district championship.

"We played hard right to the very end," coach Bobbi Jones said. "These girls have a lot of fight in them."

The Panthers took a 1-0 lead in the first inning after Kimber Hazlett struck out the first two batters. Madi Greenbaum walked, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI single by Sarah Grunert, the Fairbanks pitcher.

Two errors by the Vikings led to a pair of unearned runs in the second and another error led to an unearned run in a two-run third that gave Fairbanks a 5-0 lead.

"We weren't that worried because we had scored five or more runs in a single inning a lot of times this season," shortstop Kara Barclay said. "We knew that we could do that."

The Vikings chipped away at the lead, but had missed opportunities in the third inning. They had five consecutive hits, but only scored twice. Kassi Davison led off with a double and moved to third on a single by Courtney Mann, who was replaced by pinch-runner Heidi Wolfe. Kayla Davison doubled in her sister, but Wolfe was thrown out at the plate for the first out.

"It would take a perfect throw to get Heidi and that's what (the Panthers) had," Jones said. "I thought she was safe, but they made the plays when they had to."

Barclay later singled to drive in Kayla Davison.

The Panthers got another run in the fifth for a 6-2 lead. In a two-run sixth, Faith Hiser doubled in Barclay and Mann drove in Megan Hatfield with a single.

Baseball team makes marked improvement

The baseball team finished 19-10 overall, falling to fifth-seeded Galion Northmor 6-3 in a Division III district semifinal May 15 at Worthington Kilbourne.

The third-seeded Vikings committed seven errors, leading to six unearned runs. They were making their first appearance in a district semifinal since 2005.

Northridge went 8-15 last season.

"We have a very young team and they have never been part of a winning program," said coach Jeff Wilson, whose team defeated Amanda-Clearcreek 12-5 in the second round May 10 after an opening-round bye. "With the inexperience that we have, this (district semifinal) will be a good learning experience for next year."

Northridge tied Loudonville for third (8-6) in the MBC behind Utica (13-1) and Fredericktown (11-3). Centerburg and Johnstown-Monroe tied for fifth (6-8) followed by East Knox (4-10) and Danville (0-14).

The Vikings had three seniors in Brandon Hull (OF), Hank McCormick (1B) and Stephen Peters (3B). McCormick's 24 RBI tied for the team lead with junior catcher Jerrad Carr.

"Our seniors were really hard-working and did a lot for us," Wilson said. "They helped the younger kids keep their heads in the ballgame."

The Vikings expect to return their top three hitters in junior third baseman/pitcher Ross Wilson (.532 batting average), freshman shortstop Brad Wilson (.395, 22 RBI) and freshman outfielder Greg Wilson (.384, 17 stolen bases).

Junior Storm Strout was the team's top pitcher, going 7-1 with a 1.86 ERA and two saves.

Other starters expected back are Carr, junior outfielder Gavin Kyle and freshmen outfielders Clayton Nicks and Tate VanFossen.

Other expected back are juniors Austin Campbell (OF) and Justin Mullins (P/INF), sophomores Zach Hossler (C/1B) and Ryan Trimble (2B/OF) and freshmen Brennan Angus (OF/INF), Nick McConnell (P), Daniel McNamara (CF/2B), Matt Simmons (C) and Gavin Shank (2B/OF).

"We have a lot coming back," said coach Wilson, who completed his second season. "We expect to come back and pick up where we left off this season."