By SCOTT DAVIDSON
As favorites to win the Northern Lakes Conference Meet last week, the Warsaw boys track team responded like a champion.
Tiger coach Matt Thacker hopes to see the same performance come Thursday night as his team begins the state tournament series in the Goshen Sectional.
Warsaw, boasting a No. 6 ranking, looks to repeat its team title of a year ago in the strong 11-team field at Foreman Field that boasts a heavy NLC flavor with seven of the league’s eight teams there. Field events begin at 5:30 p.m. with the 3,200 relay slated for a 6 p.m. start.
“It was a proud moment for us as coaches to see the effort and the desire our guys displayed in the NLC Meet,” said Thacker. “We responded well to the pressure of being the regular season champion and having that bullseye on our back.”
“Like last week, I’m nervous, but confident that our guys will respond in a positive way in the sectional. Elkhart Memorial and Fairfield are two very good teams that could catch us if we don’t take care of our events.”
“Our main goal is win the sectional, but to also qualify as many guys that we can to the regional. We want to do what is right for our team and our athletes and I think we have done that in preparing for the post-season.”
The top four placers in individual events and relays in the sectional advance to the Kokomo Regional May 24.
Warsaw won the Goshen Sectional title in 2011 with 108.5 points. Concord was second with 99, followed by Fairfield with 85 and Elkhart Central with 75.
The Tigers have the top seeded times for all three relay events in the sectional. The 3,200 is first at 8:07.04, the 400 first at 43.71 and the 1,600 first at 3:21.80.
Warsaw also has the top seeds in a pair of individual events. Senior Spencer Rheinhardt is the No. 1 seed in the 800 (1;56.43), while sophomore teammate Stephen Kolbe is the top seed in the high jump at 6-6. Kolbe won the high jump sectional title in 2011.
Wawasee has a top seed in the 110 hurdles in freshman Clayton Cook (14.95). The Warriors placed seventh in the NLC Meet.
Triton and Tippecanoe Valley will compete Thursday in the Plymouth Sectional, which begins at 5:30 p.m. The top four finishers in each event there will advance to the Kokomo Regional May 24.
Whitko travels to the Fort Wayne Wayne Sectional Thursday night, which is set to start at 4:30 p.m.