The Northridge High School wrestling team won its first league title last season and also reached a semifinal of the inaugural Division III state team tournament.
But with only 11 wrestlers this season, coach Eric Potts and the Vikings have set aside team goals for individual success.
"We had a season last year that was really out of the norm for us because we had as much team success as we did for individuals," Potts said. "We lost too many seniors that we thought we would have coming back. We went from eight to three. We knew we were going to have to regroup and look at things on more of an individual basis."
The Vikings split a pair of duals Jan. 9, defeating host Johnstown-Monroe 36-33 but losing to Utica 31-19.
Winning twice were Jake Adkins (113 pounds; 22-0 overall record), Jonathan Barber (220; 14-8), Rob Mickey (160; 19-4) and Steele Strout (120; 13-4).
On Jan. 3 and 4 in the 21-team Big Dawg Duals at Dresden Tri-Valley, Northridge finished 11th (4-4) behind champion Carrollton (8-0).
The Vikings defeated Creston Norwayne 34-33, Duncan Falls Philo 42-36, New Concord John Glenn 43-34 and Zanesville Maysville 37-28. They lost to Alliance Marlington 52-19, East Liverpool 46-36, Granville 51-24 and New Lebanon Dixie 38-24.
"A lot of the teams we wrestled at Tri-Valley had 13 or 14 kids wrestling and that meant we were giving up a lot of forfeit points," Potts said. "We were down 18 or 24 points coming out of the gate and that's a lot of ground to make up."
The state team tournament begins Jan. 22, with the Vikings getting in under the wire. Teams need to have at least eight wrestlers to compete in the event.
"You need eight and right now we have nine or 10 depending on where kids are at weight-wise," Potts said. "We'll be going to Oregon Clay (for the Mike Casey-Maumee Bay Classic on Friday Jan. 17, and Saturday, Jan. 18) and there will be some stiff competition up there."
Girls basketball team gaining confidence
The girls basketball team snapped a five-game losing streak by defeating Licking Heights 52-44 on Jan. 9 in an LCL game.
Sara Pribonic led the Vikings with 25 points and made 12 of 13 free throws. Belinda Marcum scored 14 points.
"I think the big thing is that we need to finish," said coach Joe Rucker, whose team was 5-6 overall and 4-4 in the LCL before playing Johnstown on Jan. 11. "The big thing is to continue to get better because we want to be playing our best basketball come tournament time."
Pribonic led the Vikings with 13 points in a 49-44 league loss to Licking Valley on Jan. 4. Mikaela Pankuch scored nine points, Marcum had eight and Summer Prevost added seven.
"I think we're much more confident than we were at the beginning of the year," Rucker said. "After every game, we talk about things we need to do as individuals and as a team to get better. We know we can play with the teams we're going up against. We just have to take the confidence that we have gained and continue to work and get better every day."
Swimmers prepare for home meet
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams will be the host squads for the Northridge Select Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 18, at New Albany.
Also expected to compete are Big Walnut, Central Crossing, Granville, Heath, Lakewood, Liberty Union, Mount Vernon, Newark Catholic and Watkins Memorial.
On Jan. 4, the boys (65) won a three-team meet at Licking County Family YMCA ahead of Newark (16) and Lakewood (10). The girls were second (24) behind Newark (34) and ahead of Lakewood (22).
The boys' 200-yard medley relay of Jasen Dean, Chris Lindsay, Brandon Eckstein and Mat Scott won in 2 minutes, 18.63 seconds, and the same four won the 200 freestyle relay in 2:05.16.
Eckstein also won the 200 individual medley (2:51.76) and 100 butterfly (1:17.93). Mason Alexander won the 200 free (2:44.22), Adam Eckstein won the 100 breaststroke (1:35.19) and Paul Haught was first in the 400 free (6:18.75).
For the girls, Josie Bunstine won the 100 free (1:08.54) and 100 backstroke (1:19.11), Riley Love was first in the 200 IM (2:50.59) and 400 free (5:28.63), and Katie Pileski won the 50 free (33.71) and 200 free (2:50.29).
Northridge won a pair of boys dual meets Jan. 8, defeating host Zanesville Rosecrans 49-42 and Philo 77-0. The Vikings lost to Tri-Valley 62-32.
The girls team defeated Rosecrans 24-12, but lost to Tri-Valley 62-19 and Philo 26-22. Bunstine won the 100 back (1:08.79) and 200 free (2:15.98), and Love won the 500 free (6:15.9).
Boys basketball team holds off Warriors
The boys basketball team was 4-6 overall and 3-5 in the LCL before playing Licking Heights on Jan. 10.
On Jan. 3, the Vikings defeated Watkins Memorial 70-67 in LCL play as Chad Campbell led with 26 points. Matt Grindle scored 18 points, Bryant Garee had nine and Gavin Shank added eight.
Campbell scored 19 points to lead Northridge in a 69-54 league loss to Licking Valley on Jan. 8. Shank had 14 points, Chris Wilkoski had 10 and Grindle added nine.