Boost in numbers pleases first-year track coach
After having only 14 athletes last season, the Northridge High School boys and girls track and field teams have 33 this spring.
First-year coach Jeff Dingess and his athletes worked the hallways to help give the Vikings depth they did not have a year ago.
"I'm happy with the way we have kids out," Dingess said. "There is strength in numbers and now we have that."
Dingess replaced Gene Weil, who left to become an assistant at Denison University after one season with the Vikings.
The boys team has three competitors back from last season in seniors Tony Shore (sprints), Nathan Wigal (distance) and Kyle Wilbur (sprints). The girls team returns seniors Taylor Rose (sprints, shot put) and Caitlyn Tulloss (400 meters, relays), junior Hayley Menix (jumps, relays) and sophomores Belinda Marcum (200, discus), Cortney Schneider (hurdles, sprints) and Ellie Shedloski (sprints, jumps).
Also back for the girls team is senior Hannah Shank, a regional qualifier in the 300 hurdles as a sophomore who missed last season with a sprained knee.
Menix qualified for the Division II-III indoor state meet March 16 at the University of Akron and was 12th in the triple jump (29 feet, 4 3/4 inches). In the 800 relay, Menix joined Shank, Tulloss and Shedloski to finish 10th (1 minute, 51.75 seconds).
"(Shank) has really responded well to her knee (rehabilitation) and she is excited to get going," said Dingess, a 1983 Northridge graduate who also is an assistant in the football program. "Those four girls (from the 800 relay) will do a great job for us."
Shank and Tulloss are captains for the girls team, and Wigal and senior Zack Rudy (throws) are captains for the boys.
Rounding out the boys roster are senior Alex Shedloski (jumps, hurdles), juniors Brandon Eckstein (middle distance) and Ian Ware (sprints) and nine freshmen -- Adam Eckstein (sprints, middle distance), Colin Evans (hurdles, jumps, middle distance), Logan Parker (throws), Colin Remy (distance), Sam Shultz (throws), Zach Smith (sprints), Noah Tornes (sprints), Zach Weaver (throws) and Jordan Wolfe (hurdles, sprints).
The girls team also includes juniors Addison Anderson (sprints, throws), Jana Choberka (throws), Kaitlyn Garee (distance), Christa Patton (throws, relays) and Katie Pileski (middle distance, throws), sophomores Ana Carpenter (sprints, hurdles) and Sarah George (sprints, hurdles) and freshmen are Jillian Choberka (sprints, jumps), Anita Shultz (distance) and Haley Trimble (distance).
The Vikings opened April 4 in the 13-team Dick Houston Relays at Heath. The girls finished sixth (32) behind champion Watkins Memorial (74) and the boys were 13th (2) behind champion Watkins Memorial (97).
"We had enough to fill all of the events at the Dick Houston Relays, which is a good start," Dingess said. "The girls team has a chance to make some noise and the boys team has nine freshmen. We have good team unity and everyone has trained well in the preseason, so we'll see what we can do."
Last season, the girls team advanced three athletes to the Division II regional but did not score. Celina (84 points) won as 41 teams scored.
Menix finished 10th in the long jump (15-6 3/4) and high jump (5-0). Ellie Shedloski was 15th in the long jump (14-11 1/4) and Tulloss was 16th in the 400 (1:04.73).
In the 13-team district 1 meet, the girls finished eighth (28) behind champion Granville (176.5) and the boys were 12th (1) behind champion Eastmoor Academy (160).
The girls finished fifth (61) in the MBC meet behind Johnstown-Monroe (149), Loudon-ville (123), Fredericktown (118) and Danville (73) and ahead of Centerburg (57) and East Knox and Utica (both 31).
The boys finished last (15) in the league meet behind Loudonville (133.75), Utica (112), Centerburg (102), East Knox (88.75), Johnstown (82), Fredericktown (74.5) and Danville (47).
Softball team wins first three games
The softball team was 3-0 after defeating Granville 5-3 in nine innings April 2.
Faith Hiser had two hits, including the decisive two-run single in the ninth to score Taylor Mann and Courtney Legg.
Mann and Tori Hart each had three singles, Legg had two singles and Courtney Mann had a double. Kassi Davison went the distance to earn the win. She struck out six and walked one.
Trailing 3-0 through four innings, Northridge scored single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh to tie the game. Hart singled in Legg in the seventh to force extra innings.
"We were down the whole game and came back to tie it in a real dogfight," coach Bobbi Jones said. "Our kids are fighters and never give up."
The Vikings opened March 30 with a doubleheader sweep of Cardington. Megan Hatfield hit a home run in the seventh to lift host Northridge to a 7-6 win in the opener.
Hart pitched a five-inning complete game as the Vikings won the second game 10-0. Legg had a solo homer and a single, and Taylor Mann had a double and two singles.
Baseball team routs Brookhaven
The baseball team improved to 1-1 after defeating visiting Brookhaven 35-0 in five innings April 3.
Greg Wilson was the winning pitcher, going two innings with five strikeouts and no walks, and he gave up the Bearcats' only hit. He also drew four walks at the plate and had six stolen bases.
Clay Nicks had three doubles, a single and eight RBI. He also pitched two innings, with Nick McConnell pitching the fifth.
Ethan Chalfant had four singles and Matt Simmons added three singles.
The Vikings lost their opener March 30 at Olentangy Orange 4-3.
"Orange is a good Division I team and we had a pretty young team that is also talented," coach Jeff Wilson said. "It was great to watch our kids perform well against that kind of competition, and in pressure situations."
Northridge also played Marion Pleasant on April 1, but the game was suspended by darkness in the fourth. The Vikings trailed 11-7.