Nathan Wigal fell short of becoming the first Northridge High School runner to reach the state cross country meet.
Competing in the Division II regional meet Oct. 27 at Troy, Wigal finished 57th in 18 minutes, 2.27 seconds as the top 16 individuals advanced to state Nov. 3 at National Trail Raceway. Eaton's Branson Bennett finished 16th in 17:13.26.
"Even though there was a lot of good competition (at regional), I still was a little disappointed with my time," Wigal said. "But I really ran as well as I could (that) day."
Wigal was the first runner from the boys program to advance to regional.
"It was really great (to make it to regional)," he said. "It's nice to show that Northridge can come out and be competitive and have people move on. Hopefully, we will continue to make it (to regional)."
Wigal also was the lone runner for the Vikings in the eight-team district 2 race Oct. 20 at Watkins Memorial, where he finished 16th (18:32.34) to secure the final qualifying spot for regional.
The Northridge girls did not have enough runners to score in their 14-team district race. Junior Kaitlin Garee (94th, 26:12.39) led the Vikings, followed by freshman Jillian Choberka (106th, 29:27.77), junior Vivian Carney (108th, 30:00.75) and junior Jana Choberka (112th, 21:07.37).
Wigal was the program's only senior.
"Cross country is one of the sports where you can make a runner," said coach Gene Weil, who completed his first season, as did co-coach Chad Elliott. "A sprinter is a sprinter, either he or she has speed or doesn't. But you can have a runner who has trouble getting around the track and a few years later he or she is setting all kind of records, (so) there's always hope for distance runners."
On Oct. 13 in the four-team MBC meet at Kokosing Reservoir, the boys did not have enough runners to score as Fredericktown (29) won. Wigal (sixth, 17:57.6) and freshman Colin Evans (21st, 19:59.3) competed.
The girls did not have enough runners to score in the three-team MBC meet won by Fredericktown (25). Garee (15th, 24:51.6), Jillian Choberka (23rd, 28:06.4), Carney (28th, 30:01.9) and Jana Choberka (30th, 30:41.8) competed.
"We only had two boys and five girls," Weil said. "Hopefully next year we can attract more kids and see what happens.
"Nathan was the only senior in the whole group. We expect all of them to come back and hopefully we get some other kids. We have a couple of middle school girls who worked out with us and looked good. Maybe we can get some more."
Johnnies volleyball team showed effort
The Johnstown-Monroe girls volleyball team finished 3-16 overall, losing to visiting Columbus School for Girls 22-25, 25-20, 15-25, 25-19, 15-13 on Oct. 17 in the first round of the Division III district tournament.
The Johnnies finished eighth (1-13) in the MBC behind Centerburg (14-0), Utica (12-2), Fredericktown (10-4), Loudonville (8-6), Danville (4-10), East Knox (4-10) and Northridge (3-11). They will compete in the Licking County League next season.
Seniors were outside hitter Krista Ohl and middle hitter Korrie Wetmore, who was honorable mention all-district and all-league.
"The seniors had a great work ethic in practice and did a great job of encouraging the underclassmen," said coach Heather Ashbrook, who completed her fourth season.
Topping the list of expected returnees is junior Arika Sayer, a right side and outside hitter who was honorable mention all-district and second-team all-league.
Also expected back are juniors Meghan Gall (back row), Rachel Shadwick (back row) and Harley Thomson (setter) as well as sophomores Amanda Payne (right side/outside hitter), Claire Slader (middle hitter) and Emily Wilson (right side/outside hitter).
Called up from junior varsity for the postseason were junior Ashley Mahaffey, sophomore Leanna Lehner and freshmen Karoline Boso and Tori Helmke.
"I like the effort the players put into practice and they listened well and encouraged each other during difficult times," Ashbrook said. "I think they will be great leaders and will be good examples for the underclassmen next season. We definitely need to work on communication skills and keeping the intensity level high throughout the entire match. I believe the players have a lot of talent and the ability to win more games than they did this season."
Vikings volleyball team wins 3 matches
The Northridge girls volleyball team finished 3-17 overall, losing at sixth-seeded Heath 25-18, 25-15, 25-19 on Oct. 20 in the second round of the Division III district tournament after a first-round bye.
The Vikings will join Johnstown in the LCL next season.
Northridge had five seniors in Faith Hiser (setter/hitter), Taylor Rose (defensive specialist), Hannah Shank (setter), Kacie Tornes (outside hitter) and Caitlyn Tulloss (middle hitter), who was honorable mention all-league.
"Seniors are an important part of a successful team," said coach John Smith, who completed his first season. "Faith, Kacie, Caitlyn and Taylor all were important parts of the team.
"Hannah was recovering from a knee operation through most of the fall, but was able to participate some late in the season."
The top returnees are expected to be junior Sara Pribonic (hitter), sophomores Hunter Adkins (back row), Megan Hatfield (hitter) and Faith Miller (setter/hitter) and freshmen Savannah Legg (hitter) and Jamie Swickard (hitter). Miller was second-team all-league.
Others expected back include juniors Addison Anderson (hitter) and Morgan McDaniel (back row) and sophomore Sarah George (hitter).
"We look for improvement in all areas," Smith said. "With the seniors leaving, that opens new opportunities for underclassmen."
Northridge falls to Johnnies in football
The Northridge football team lost to visiting Johnstown 55-6 on Oct. 26 to finish 2-8 overall and 1-6 in the MBC.
Thomas Williams had a 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter for the Vikings.