Coach Eric Potts hopes a season of firsts continues for the Northridge High School wrestling team.
On Dec. 22, the Vikings won their first Licking County Tournament title, scoring 276 points to finish ahead of runner-up and three-time defending champion Licking Valley (250) at Licking Heights. They also won their first dual in the inaugural Division III state team tournament, defeating visiting Heath 62-9 on Jan. 23.
Now, Northridge hopes to win its first MBC title when it competes in the league duals Saturday, Feb. 2, at Fredericktown.
"We never have won a league title before, so that is definitely something that is on their minds," Potts said. "That's what everyone has been working toward."
In 2011 in the MBC Duals at Centerburg, the Vikings were second, losing to Utica 58-18 in the championship match.
Last season, host Northridge finished third (259) in the league duals behind Loudonville (333) and Utica (284). The Redbirds won their sixth title in seven seasons.
Senior Thomas Williams (145 pounds), senior Anthoney Verhovec (heavyweight) and junior Jacob Burke (170) won championships a year ago. Senior Drew Mullen (132) was second, with junior Jon Barber (220), senior Zach Rudy (160) and sophomore Jake Adkins (106) all finishing third. Junior Parker Fox (138) was fourth and junior Wade Stischok (152) placed fifth.
The second-seeded Vikings rolled over 10th-seeded Heath in their state-dual opener to advance to compete against sixth-seeded Mount Gilead on Wednesday, Jan. 30, at the old Northmor High School, 5353 County Road 29 in Galion. The winner competes Jan. 30 against top-seeded Galion Northmor or fifth-seeded North Union in a Region 22-A semifinal at the same site, with that winner advancing to a regional final Feb. 6.
"It wasn't that big of a deal (competing in our first state dual) because none of the teams had done it before," Potts said. "Our kids approached it like any other match."
On Jan. 19, the Vikings finished second in the Hamilton Classic at Hamilton Township, losing to Licking Valley 34-31 in the championship dual. Williams (152) was named the event's Most Valuable Wrestler.
In last week's Division III district poll, Northridge was ranked third behind Amanda-Clearcreek and West Jefferson. Adkins (106), Williams (152) and junior Rob Mickey (160) were rated first in their weight classes and Verhovec was second at heavyweight behind Ready's Patrik Garren.
Bunstine sets another swimming record
Freshman Josie Bunstine now owns four records for the girls swimming and diving team.
Bunstine won the 200-yard individual medley in 2 minutes, 30.95 seconds in a tri-meet Jan. 19 at New Albany. She broke the record of 2:32.12 set by Gabrielle Tan in 2007 and also holds records in the 100 breaststroke (1:14.4), 100 butterfly (1:06.4) and 500 freestyle (6:11.89).
The girls were third (34) in the meet behind Newark Catholic (71) and Lakewood (63), as Bunstine also won the 100 free (1:00.78). Junior Riley Love had personal-best performances in the 100 free (1:01.41) and 200 IM (2:32.72), and junior Katie Pileski had personal records in the 200 free (2:50.21) and 100 backstroke (1:29.79).
The boys won with 138 points, followed by Lakewood (36) and Newark Catholic (3).
Winners for the boys included junior Brandon Eckstein (100 fly, 1:09.76; 100 breast, 1:21.31), sophomore Chris Lindsay (50 free, personal-best 27.79), sophomore Mat Scott (200 IM, 2:45.74) and freshman David Stanton (100 free, 1:43.7).
Also winning were Eckstein, Lindsay, sophomore Jasen Dean and Scott in both the 200 free relay (1:51.33) and 400 free relay (4:29.86).
Other personal-best performances were turned in by sophomore Bryce Curtis (100 breast, 1:37.96), Dean (200 free, 2:27.39) and freshman Adam Eckstein (50 free, 33.51).
The Vikings competed in the Southeastern Ohio Swim League meet Jan. 26 at Ohio University in preparation for the Division II boys and girls sectional meets Feb. 9 at Columbus Academy.
"We have done some dragging, which is putting on extra weight like a T-shirt or sweatshirt or the young ladies will wear pantyhose when working out (in the pool)," assistant coach Jeff Lindsay said. "Then we look to taper for the postseason."
Boys basketball team looks to get on track
The boys basketball team was 6-9 overall and 3-6 in the MBC before playing Centerburg on Jan. 25.
The Vikings play a non-league game Tuesday, Jan. 29, at home against Tree of Life before playing a league game at home against Fredericktown on Friday, Feb. 1. Northridge lost to the Freddies 74-39 on Dec. 21 as senior guard Hayden Warner scored nine points and sophomore guard Chad Campbell scored eight.
Northridge snapped a three-game losing streak with a 61-43 win over East Knox on Jan. 22. Sophomore guard Gavin Shank scored 14 points and Campbell had 12 with three 3-pointers. Junior guard Matt Grindle had nine points and senior guard Sean Higgins added seven.
On Jan. 18, the Vikings lost to Danville 73-55 as Grindle scored 27 points, Campbell had 13 and Warner added 11.