Tapering is the term used by swimming coaches in reference to trimming workouts as an important meet approaches.
Most of the swimmers for the Northridge High School boys and girls teams were tapering to peak during a Division I sectional Feb. 8 at Columbus Academy. The Vikings accomplished just that as two program records were broken and 12 competitors had personal-best performances in the sport's initial postseason event.
"All of our swimmers were tapering for sectional except for Josie (Bunstine), who was tapering for district," coach Rachel Furr said. "We're pretty happy with the results of the taper. Everyone had their best times by significant margins."
The winner of each sectional event qualified for district Feb. 14 at Ohio State. In addition, 27 at-large district berths were awarded in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites.
At district, the top two placers in each swimming event advanced to the state meet Wednesday, Feb. 19, through Friday, Feb. 21, at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths were awarded for each swimming event based on district times statewide.
The boys advanced all three relays to district. The 200-yard medley relay of Jason Dean, Adam Eckstein, Brandon Eckstein and Mat Scott finished fifth at sectional (program-record 1 minute, 59.21 seconds) and was seeded 17th at district.
"The boys on the 200 medley relay did a great job at getting the record," Furr said. "They worked hard to get that, and it was the first time they had finished under two minutes. They beat the old record by two seconds."
The 400 freestyle relay (4:06.58) of Chris Lindsay, Mason Alexander, Nathan Castle and Dean was fifth at sectional and the 200 free relay (1:47.92) of Lindsay, Steven Wickham, Scott and Brandon Eckstein was sixth. Both relays were seeded 23rd at district.
Brandon Eckstein was the lone individual qualifier for the boys, advancing to district in the 100 butterfly (program-record 1:02.37, ninth at sectional) and the 200 individual medley (personal-best 2:22.45, 10th). At district, he was seeded 15th in the 100 fly and 16th in the 200 IM.
"Brandon really wanted that record in the butterfly and it was good to see him get it," said Furr, whose boys team finished sixth (66) at sectional behind champion Academy (270) as 18 teams scored. "He is swimming well and just missed the record in the 200 IM. That (was) his goal at district."
Advancing to district for the girls were Josie Bunstine in the 100 fly (1:04.99, seventh) and 100 breaststroke (1:15.71, 10th) and Riley Love in the 200 free (personal-best 2:16.3, 11th) and 500 free (6:08.48, 10th). At district, Bunstine was seeded 14th in the 100 fly and 15th in the 100 breast, and Love was seeded 18th in the 200 free and 17th in the 500 free.
"Riley never competed in the 200 free before sectional," said Furr, whose girls team finished 15th (15) behind champion Columbus School for Girls (273) as 20 teams scored.
Katie Pileski also had a personal best for the girls, going 2:31.34 to place 19th in the 200 free.
Personal records for the boys team also were set by Bryce Curtis in the 100 breast (1:23.97, 23rd); Castle in the 50 free (28.23, 23rd); Dean in the 100 free (58.81, 15th) and 100 backstroke (1:11.12, 12th); Adam Eckstein in the 100 breast (1:16.89, 13th); Paul Haught in the 500 free (7:05.68, 14th); Eli Rushmore in the 200 free (2:30.75, 17th); Scott in the 50 free (26.24, 14th) and 100 free (57.7, 13th); Ryan Strong in the 500 free (7:57.83, 17th); and Nick Willeke in the 100 back (1:27.52, 20th) and 100 free (1:17.52, 37th).
Boys basketball team preps for tourney
The boys basketball team was 7-15 overall and finished 5-13 in the LCL after losing to Licking Heights 61-50 on Feb. 11 in its regular-season finale.
Matt Grindle and Gavin Shank both scored 15 points, Bryant Garee had 10 and Chad Campbell added eight.
The Vikings are seeded 11th in the Division III district tournament and open Saturday, Feb. 22, at 10th-seeded Fredericktown. The Freddies were 10-9 before playing Morral Ridgedale on Feb. 14 and have not played Northridge this season.
The winner plays at ninth-seeded Liberty Union on Feb. 27 in the second round.
"I like our draw and think we possibly have good matchups," coach Ben Patrick said.
"Fredericktown is seeded close to us, as is Liberty Union, should we get a chance to play them. I like the road we have taken and it gave us the best chance on the bracket when we made our selection."
Northridge lost to Licking Valley 53-51 on Feb. 7 in league play. Garee and Grindle both scored 10 points and Campbell and Jacob Neff added nine apiece.
On Feb. 10, Northridge lost to Zanesville Rosecrans 52-51. Campbell had17 points and Chris Wilkoski added eight.
Girls basketball team begins postseason
The 14th-seeded girls basketball team was 9-12 overall before playing seventh-seeded Fredericktown on Feb. 15 in the first round of the Division III district tournament.
The winner plays 13th-seeded Madison Plains on Wednesday, Feb. 19, in the second round at the home of the better seed.
The Golden Eagles are 11-11 and have not played Northridge this season.
The winner plays in a district semifinal against eighth-seeded Liberty Union, ninth-seeded Marion Elgin or 17th-seeded Amanda-Clearcreek on Feb. 25 at Granville.
The Vikings finished 8-10 in the LCL after falling to Licking Heights 51-29 on Feb. 8 as Sara Pribonic led with nine points. Jamie Swickard scored six and Mikaela Pankuch added five.
Wrestlers compete in sectional tourney
The wrestling team competed in a Division III sectional Feb. 14 and 15 at Magnolia Sandy Valley, where the top four finishers in each weight class advanced to district Friday, Feb. 21, and Saturday, Feb. 22, at Heath.
The top four finishers in each weight class at district advance to the state tournament Feb. 27-March 1 at Ohio State.
Last season at district, junior Jake Adkins (106 pounds) and 2013 graduate Thomas Williams (145) won titles and senior Rob Mickey (160) finished third.