Jake Adkins' life changed one Friday afternoon when he was in kindergarten.

Jake Adkins' life changed one Friday afternoon when he was in kindergarten.

On a whim, he decided to give wrestling a try, and quickly fell in love with the sport.

Now a senior 113-pounder at Northridge High School, Adkins enters his final postseason looking to go out on top. A three-time state qualifier and two-time state placer, he wants to stand atop the podium as a state champion.

"Every Friday, our teacher would give us a packet and this one had a little yellow flier in there about wrestling," Adkins said, reflecting on how he got started. "I told my dad (Jack) that I wanted to try that, and I have been wrestling ever since. I didn't know it at the time, but he used to wrestle in high school (at Watkins Memorial) and college (at West Liberty University in West Virginia), so I think he was pretty happy about that."

Adkins had a career record of 163-30 before the Vikings competed Feb. 12, including 29-2 this season. He went 46-6 last season at 106 and placed fourth in the Division III state tournament.

On Saturday, Feb. 21, Adkins and the Vikings will compete in the LCL tournament at Licking Valley. Adkins will be looking for his second LCL title in as many seasons. Before the LCL reformed, he won the 106 championship in the Licking County tournament as a sophomore and was second at 106 as a freshman.

Last season, the Vikings finished sixth (152 points) of 10 teams in the LCL tournament behind champion Granville (309).

"(The LCL) is just like every tournament. ... I want to end up at the top of the podium," Adkins said. "You want to go out there and prove you're the best."

Being the best comes with hard work. During the past three summers, Adkins competed across the country with Team Ohio in the Junior Olympics. The experience of having a multitude of matches against top-notch competition helps Adkins every time he steps on the mat.

"You have like 20 matches in a week with Team Ohio, which is like a third of a high school season in one week," Adkins said. "You're going up against state champions and state placers from other states. Going up against that level of wrestler prepares you to go against the best of the best (in the postseason)."

One of the attractions of wrestling for Adkins was being able to compete against opponents his own size. It gave a smaller athlete a chance to excel.

"Kids of any size can be a giant in wrestling and that helped," he said. "I played basketball in the third and fourth grades and I was pretty good, but I missed the challenge of wrestling (and) the competition."

Adkins is highly competitive on and off the mat. He ran cross country as a freshman, but pay-to-participate fees kept him from going out as a sophomore. He figured he could run on his own, and trained to run in the Columbus Marathon.

"Jake wanted to try the marathon (in 2012), but we couldn't sign him up because you need to be 16 (years old) to run ... for insurance reasons," Jack Adkins said. "The next fall, Jake asked us if we had signed him up for the marathon. We hadn't because he wasn't training for it. He asked for us to sign him up because, as he said, 'He really needed to do it.' "

He finished in 3 hours, 37 minutes, 53 seconds, good for 21st in his age group and 1,020th overall of 5,523 participants.

"I didn't have a time goal in mind, I just wanted to run the entire time and not stop to walk," he said. "I was happy considering it was my first time doing that."

Coach Eric Potts said that drive sets Adkins apart. He never wants to finish second.

"One of Jake's biggest characteristics is that he is a perfectionist in everything, whether it's school or wrestling or whatever," Potts said. "He doesn't want to be second in a driving class, he wants to be first. He wants nothing less than to be the best."

Adkins has a 4.56 weighted GPA and has committed to wrestle at Princeton.

"You have to have discipline to study and put in the extra work on the mat," said Adkins, who plans to major in molecular biology with plans of going to medical school. "When you work out, you have to give 100 percent all of the time -- even when the coach isn't looking -- and be mentally sound.

"Wrestling is an intellectual sport because you are always thinking. Everyone has a certain style that you have to be ready to adapt to and you have to be able to defend against that style."

After the LCL tournament, the Vikings compete in a sectional Feb. 27 and 28 at Magnolia Sandy Valley.

Adkins won sectional and district titles at 106 as a sophomore and junior. He was eighth at state in 2013.

He's aiming to become the program's first four-time state qualifier and highest placer. The program's best was a third-place finish by 130-pounder Joey Simcoe in 1999.

"The thing about wrestling is that you learn hard work pays off," Adkins said. "That feeling you have when your hand is raised is amazing. You realize at that moment that the six minutes of pain on the mat was worth it."