After Jake Adkins placed fourth at state for the Northridge High School wrestling team, the junior already was looking ahead.
Adkins was looking toward the weight room to add muscle for next season. He was looking toward offseason tournaments to hone his skills. And he was thinking about his next meal -- an overstuffed burrito to enjoy after months of diet restrictions to make his 106-pound weight limit.
"I have been dieting starting about 3 1/2 months before the season, so I'm going to Chipotle in the next couple of hours," said Adkins, who finished 49-6 overall after losing to Delta's Drew Mattin 15-3 in his third-place match in the Division III state tournament, which was held Feb. 27-March 1 at Ohio State.
"I have been eating a lot of fruits and vegetables and some lean meats. I had my first pop in a few months a while ago. I'll probably eat everything I can in the next few days."
Northridge has had fourth-place state finishers the last three seasons. Thomas Will-iams, a 2013 graduate, finished fourth at 145 last season and at 138 in 2012. The Vikings' highest finish at state was a third-place effort by 130-pounder Joey Simcoe in 1999.
Adkins finished eighth at state last season at 106 and did not place as a freshman at 106.
"Jake goes from eighth to fourth, so maybe he can go up four more places next year," said coach Eric Potts, who concluded his fourth season. "He went all over the country wrestling in tournaments to get better, and he did. I'm sure he'll do it again this summer and he'll get in the weight room and put on some muscle so he can be a pretty good-sized 113-pounder next year."
Senior Rob Mickey went 1-2 at state at 160 to finish 38-9.
"Rob really did great, especially when you consider what he had to battle with in the last few weeks," said Potts, whose team finished 30th (18 points) behind champion Delta (141) as 94 teams scored. "He didn't do hardly any live wrestling during the week because of his knee injury, only on the days of the meets. He showed a lot of heart through that."
In the district tournament Feb. 21 and 22 at Heath, Adkins and Mickey won titles as the Vikings finished 10th (56) behind champion Hartley (107.5) as 50 teams scored.
Also at district, freshman Steele Strout (120) went 2-2 to finish 24-13. Senior Alex Arnold (145; 12-28 overall), senior Jonathan Barber (220; 19-18) and sophomore Jacob Maynard (132; 28-12) all went 0-2.
Adkins and Mickey won sectional titles Feb. 14 and 15 at Magnolia Sandy Valley as Northridge finished sixth (135) of 13 teams behind champion Cadiz Harrison Central (180.5). Maynard placed third, while Arnold, Barber and Strout placed fourth.
In the LCL tournament Feb. 1 at Licking Heights, Adkins won a title as the Vikings finished sixth (152) of 10 teams behind champion Granville (309). Maynard and Strout were runners-up, while Barber and sophomore Michael Holly (113) placed fifth. Freshman Hunter Corbin (138) and sophomore Mason Toyer (170) placed sixth, and Arnold was seventh.
In the Division III state team tournament, the 10th-seeded Vikings won their preliminary-round Region 21-A dual against seventh-seeded Will-iamsport Westfall 36-30 on Jan. 22 before losing their first-round matchup with second-seeded and host Utica 45-26.
Girls basketball team goes from 2 to 11 wins
The girls basketball team won nine more games than a year ago, finishing 11-13 overall with a 41-18 loss to eighth-seeded Liberty Union in a Division III district semifinal Feb. 25 at Granville.
The 14th-seeded Vikings opened the postseason with road wins over seventh-seeded Fredericktown (41-40 on Feb. 15) and 13th-seeded Madison Plains (51-39 on Feb. 19).
In the LCL, Northridge tied Licking Heights and Utica for fifth (8-10) behind Newark Catholic (17-1), Johnstown (16-2), Licking Valley (13-5) and Granville (9-9) and ahead of Lakewood (5-13), Watkins Memorial (4-14) and Heath (2-16).
Northridge had two seniors in forward Summer Prevost and guard Sara Pribonic.
Pribonic was named second-team all-district and all-league after averaging 15.1 points, 4.5 steals, 4.0 assists and 3.8 rebounds.
"Our seniors set the foundation for this program," said first-year coach Joe Rucker, whose program made its second district semifinal in three seasons. "We brought in a new system and style of play that was much different from how they played in previous years. Because they bought in, the others followed."
Junior forward Belinda Marcum averaged 9.8 points and 7.4 rebounds. She was named honorable mention all-district and all-league.
Also expected to return are juniors Sarah George (forward) and Mikaela Pankuch (forward), sophomores Jamie Swickard (forward) and Emily Wilson (guard) and freshmen Jenna Denune (forward), Rachael Harmon (guard), Alexis Humes (guard), McKenna Kitchen (guard/forward), Veronica Reese (guard/forward) and Sammi Whitt (guard).
Junior guard Heidi Wolfe missed the season with knee and hip injuries.
"Belinda Marcum and Mikaela Pankuch will be relied on heavily next year to provide leadership and toughness," Rucker said. "Jamie Swickard is another returning starter who I expect will make huge strides in the offseason."
Menix, Shedloski qualify for state
Senior Haley Menix and junior Ellie Shedloski qualified for the Divisions II-III state indoor track and field meet March 8 at the University of Akron.
Menix qualified in the triple jump, long jump and high jump. Shedloski qualified in the high jump.
Menix was seeded third in the long jump (16 feet, 8 3/4 inches) and seventh in the triple jump (31-4 1/2). The two tied for the 19th seed in the high jump (4-10 1/4).