The Northridge High School wrestling team is the second seed for the Division III, Region 22-A portion of the inaugural state dual tournament, but the Vikings want to prove they're better than that.
"We would have liked to have been the No. 1 seed, but we will have to wrestle (top-seeded Galion Northmor) to get out, so it really doesn't matter," coach Eric Potts said. "Maybe that will help us in the long run. The kids are fired up. I think our kids wrestle better when they are the underdog."
The Vikings open the tournament Wednesday, Jan. 23, at home against 10th-seeded Heath or seventh-seeded Cardington. They defeated Heath 56-15 in the WHIZ Duals, an event held Jan. 4 and 5 at Dresden Tri-Valley.
"We beat Heath earlier this year, but we don't know much about Cardington," Potts said. "We do know Cardington from the sectional and district tournaments from last year, but that's about it."
The winner faces third-seeded Newark Catholic or sixth-seeded Mount Gilead on Jan. 30 at a site to be determined. That winner advances to a regional semifinal the same night against Northmor, fourth-seeded Danville, fifth-seeded North Union, eighth-seeded Johnstown-Monroe or ninth-seeded Fredericktown.
The regional final will be held Feb. 6 against the winner of Region 22-B. The state tournament is Feb. 9.
"This is the first year for (the state duals), so it will be a learning process for everyone," Potts said. "But I do like having the first dual at home. That may get people out there to watch and see what we're all about.
"The more success we have, the more recognition it will give us, and that can help the program. It could lead to having more kids come out because they want to be a part of that success."
Boys basketball team looks to get on track
The boys basketball team was 5-8 overall and 2-5 in the MBC and was on a two-game losing streak before playing Danville on Jan. 18.
The Vikings lost a league game to Johnstown 58-54 in overtime Jan. 11. Senior guard Hayden Warner scored 22 points with four 3-pointers, sophomore guard Chad Campbell had 12 points and senior guard Sean Higgins scored 11.
In a non-league game Jan. 15, Northridge lost to Heath 61-50. Trailing 11-3 after one quarter, the Vikings scored 21 points in the second but trailed 29-24 at halftime.
Campbell scored 15 points and sophomore guard Gavin Shank added 10.
"When playing up tempo like we do, you have to beat the zone down the floor," coach Ben Patrick said. "Though it's up tempo, it's a motion offense with some freedom. With that kind of freedom, there's often a learning curve on what shots to take and the type of shots we want to take."
The Vikings play a pair of MBC games this week. On Tuesday, Jan. 22, they play at home against East Knox. Northridge lost the first meeting 65-64 on Dec. 11 as Shank had 24 points, Campbell had 17 and junior guard Matt Grindle had 15. On Friday, Jan. 25, the Vikings play at Centerburg. They lost to the Trojans 55-53 in overtime Dec. 14 as Campbell scored 16 points and Higgins added 15.
Girls basketball team looking to rebound
The girls basketball team had lost six consecutive games and was 2-13 and 1-8 before playing Centerburg on Jan. 19.
The Vikings lost to Thornville Sheridan 38-26 in a non-league game Jan. 14 as junior guard Sara Pribonic led with 16 points. Northridge lost to East Knox 34-33 on Jan. 17 as Pribonic scored 16 points.
The Vikings play Tuesday, Jan. 22, at Sparta Highland in a non-league game before playing Saturday, Jan. 26, against Fredericktown. Northridge lost to Fredericktown 46-23 on Dec. 15.
Swimmers record personal-best efforts
The swimming and diving teams competed Jan. 11 against Newark and Zanesville West Muskingum at the Newark YMCA.
The boys team finished first (101) ahead of Newark (65) and West Muskingum (64), and the girls team (38) finished behind West Muskingum (121) and Newark (91).
Jasen Dean won the 100-yard backstroke (1 minute, 27.62 seconds) and Brandon Eckstein was first in the 100 butterfly (1:14.81).
Josie Bunstine won the 100 back (1:23.1) and the 50 freestyle (personal-best 30.6). Riley Love won both the 100 breaststroke (1:36.15) and 200 individual medley (2:55.57).
Boys swimmers with personal-best performances included Dean (100 free, 1:13.32), Adam Eckstein (100 free, 1:33.22), Chris Lindsay (100 free, 1:11.14; 100 breast, 1:30.8), Noah Orcutt (200 free, 3:10.43; 500 free, 6:40.8) and David Stanton (100 free, 1:48.17; 200 free, 4:07.1). Katie Pileski had personal records for the girls in the 100 free (1:26.26) and 200 free (3:20.11).
The Vikings competed in the Northridge Invitational on Jan. 19 and will participate in the Southeastern Ohio Swim League meet Saturday, Jan. 26, at Ohio University.