Johnstown Independent

Track & Field

Northridge program evolving

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Two years ago, the Northridge High School boys and girls track and field teams combined to have 14 athletes.

This season, the Vikings had 24 boys and 16 girls, with three advancing to the Division II regional meet May 29 and 31 at Lexington.

Senior Hayley Menix was 13th in the girls long jump (15 feet, 5 inches). The top four finishers in each event advanced to the state meet June 6 and 7 at Ohio State.

"I think Hayley was a little knotted up at regional, but we're happy with everything she has done for us," second-year coach Jeff Dingess said. "She has been the face of the program and we couldn't be more proud of her."

Junior Ellie Shedloski finished seventh in the 100 meters (12.96 seconds), helping the girls team tie for 39th (2 points) behind champion Orrville (63) as 42 teams scored.

For the boys team, junior Chad Campbell was 11th in the long jump (19-0) and 12th in the high jump (5-10). The Johnnies did not score at regional, with Pemberville Eastwood (61) winning as 46 teams scored.

"Chad had his second-best high jump and Ellie had her second-best performance in the 100," Dingess said. "Both performed well and learned things to help them next year."

In the district 2 meet that concluded May 24 at Heath, Campbell was second in the long jump (19-11 3/4) and third in the high jump (personal-best 6-0) as the Vikings finished 10th (18) behind champion Caledonia River Valley (130) as 14 teams scored.

Shedloski won the 100 in a personal-best 12.86 at district, and Menix was second in the long jump (15-10 3/4) as the girls team finished 12th (24) behind champion Heath (70) as 21 teams scored.

"Hayley helped me a lot with all of my events," Shedloski said. "The big thing that she taught me was to stay relaxed and just go out and do the things you do in practice."

Campbell's personal-best in the long jump of 20-2 was good for fifth place in the 10-team LCL meet that concluded May 17 at Watkins Memorial. The boys team finished ninth (12) behind champion Watkins Memorial (189).

Menix won the long jump (16-5 1/2) and was fifth in the high jump (4-8) in the LCL meet as the girls team finished eighth (21) behind champion Watkins Memorial (180).

The girls had four seniors in Jana Choberka, Menix, Christa Patton and Summer Prevost.

"Hayley has a legacy that will live forever at Northridge," Dingess said. "She was with us during the lean times a few years ago when we only had (14) in the program. She has been an important part of the rebuilding process.

"Summer Prevost was a four-year basketball player and played soccer for two years. She came out (for track) as a junior, but was unable to compete because of a calf injury. She was a big asset for us in the 100 hurdles and the 400 relay, 800 relay and 1,600 relay, and she was (an LCL) scholar athlete."

Expected to return are juniors Ana Carpenter, Belinda Marcum, Cortney Schneider, Shedloski and Hannah Young, sophomores Josie Bunstine, Jillian Choberka, Megan Dalton, Kendra Garee and Mary Nguyen and freshmen Sydney Menix and Kendall Wolfe.

The boys team had three first-year seniors in Zach Hossler, Matt Hudkins and Ryan Strong.

Expected back are juniors Campbell, Canden Chapman, Jacob Phillips, Mat Scott and Evan Wilkoski, sophomores Adam Eckstein, Colin Evans, Kylor Kuahui, Logan Parker, Robi Patrick, Skyler Pritts, Sam Shultz, Zach Smith, Noah Tornes and Zach Weaver and freshmen Gunner Absten, Hunter Corbin, Logan Garee, Johnny Feightner, Isaac Marinchek and Trevor Roach.

"Of the boys we had this year, we had zero third- or fourth-year letterwinners, and we only had four second-year winners," Dingess said. "That being said, we really had a tremendous season. We'll have all but three seniors back, so it's time for us to continue recruiting, embrace the middle school program and start a youth program."

Dingess said the program also was going to raise funds to have a pole-vault pit at the facility.

"We're going to start an aggressive program to get a pole-vaulting pit, which we haven't had in more than 20 years," he said. "We will have one starting next March. I just hate giving away points that we could be getting with someone doing the pole vault for us."

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