Tom Williams walked off the mat at the Licking County Championships with a feeling of accomplishment.

Tom Williams walked off the mat at the Licking County Championships with a feeling of accomplishment.

The 135-pound sophomore from the Northridge High School wrestling team had beaten Pete Hughes of Utica 2-1 in a championship match on Dec. 18 at Johnstown-Monroe. He helped the Vikings finish third (214 points) behind Licking Valley (390) and Utica (216), and ahead of Granville (213.5), Newark (206), Newark Catholic (177.5), Heath (166), Watkins Memorial (163), Licking Heights (143), Lakewood (131) and Johnstown (75).

"Walking off that mat after the last match, it really felt good knowing that I had won," said Williams, who improved to 12-0. "It was a long, tough day and was great after finishing third last season. I wrestled a lot smarter, and I was more calmed down. I was more used to it with another year under my belt."

Northridge's Shane Mulligan was the champion at 112 by beating Logan Johnson of Licking Heights 9-8 in the final. Bradley Verhovec was runner-up for the Vikings at 152 after being pinned by Watkins Memorial's Joey Cameron in 1 minute, 56 seconds.

"Shane had a close match in the finals and was pretty dominant during his (preliminary matches)," Northridge coach Eric Potts said. "Tom had pretty tough weight class with Hughes, Evan Hansel of Newark Catholic and John Gershom of Lakewood.

"Bradley Verhovec beat (Nick Carpenter) of Utica (9-3) after losing to him (on Dec. 15) and he also beat a good kid from Licking Valley (in Cameron Landis 9-2)."

Andrew Mullen (119), Zach Rudy (160) and heavyweight Anthony Verhovec all finished fourth. Mullen, who was runner-up at 112 last year, lost to Newark Catholic's D.J. DeVito 3-1 in the third-place match and Rudy was pinned in 4:30 by Cory Workman of Licking Valley. In his third-place match, Anthony Verhovec lost 8-4 to Johnstown's R.D. Williams.

Jeffery Maynard was fifth at 130 for the Vikings and Wade Stischok was sixth at 130. Rob Mickey finished fifth at 145.

"I think the kids are capitalizing on their opponents when they have the chance," said Potts, whose team will compete Thursday in the Johnstown Duals. "They are understanding how important every point they score can be. That really became apparent when we lost to Utica (on Dec. 15) by one point (36-35) and only finished two points out of second place at the county meet."

Potts said a team-first attitude has helped each athlete to become a better wrestler.

"In the past, I think they have looked at themselves as being a lot of individuals," said Potts, whose team competes in a home MBC quad on Jan. 5 and as the host squad Jan. 8 for the Northridge Invitational. "They are really starting to wrestle as a team and that their place really matters for everyone else on the team and not just themselves."

Tom Williams said he must decide whether to wrestle at 130 or 135. Wrestlers cannot wrestle at a weight where their body fat is below 7 percent. That level is called the alpha; Williams' alpha weight is 129.5.

"I have to sit down and think about what I'm going to do," Williams said. "You want to get down as low as you can, but I also don't want to wear my body down every week. I just want to wrestle where I can come out on top."

•Johnstown finished 11th at the Licking County Championships. The Johnnies were led by a third-place finish by R.D. Williams at heavyweight.

Clayton Bullard was fifth at 171, Dylan Mullins was sixth at 112 and Joey Dismuke was sixth at 189.

The Johnnies will be the host team Thursday for the Johnstown Duals and will compete Jan. 5 in an MBC quad at Utica. On Jan. 15, they will compete in the Larry Remmert Memorial at Thornville Sheridan.