Ashley Erba is making great strides to establish herself as one of the elite distance runners in the history of the Hoosier State.
The Warsaw star and two-time state champion looks to make an even bigger name for herself nationally come next week.
Erba, who recently finished her junior year at WCHS, is set to compete in the prestigious New Balance Outdoor Nationals June 14. The meet will be held on the campus of North Carolina A & T University in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Erba, who will compete in the Championship 5,000-meter run, is looking forward to her next challenge.“I think it’s going to be a really fun meet to be a part of,” said Erba in a phone interview Thursday. “There’s a ton of things I’m going to gain from this. I’ll be racing against great competition and will be challenged.
“It will be a great experience to compete against different runners I have never raced against before. It’s also a great meet to get yourself out there to have colleges see you run.”Erba won a state championship in the 3,200-meter run June 1 at the State Finals in Bloomington. She dominated the field to win in 10:24.94, the fourth fastest time in state history and not far off the record time of 10:20.66 set by Waverly Neer of Culver Academy in 2011. Erba won the state title in cross county last October in Terre Haute.
Scott Erba, Ashley’s coach and father, sees many benefits to next week’s race.
“I think this will be really good for Ashley for next year and beyond,” said coach Erba in a phone interview Friday night. “Other than the Foot Locker Midwest meet after cross country season this will be here first race experience outside of Indiana.
“I’m excited to see her run a 5,000 and she’s ready and in great shape. It will be good for her to see different racing styles and that will make her a better competitor I believe. The thing is that we’ll learn from this no matter what the outcome of the race is. The whole experience is a winning experience for her regardless of what happens in the race.”
Erba’s performances in the 3,200 qualified her to run in the meet in which runners have to have certain qualifying times to enter the national event.
“I’ve never raced this distance before, but the longer the race the better for me,” said Erba. “I’ve been preparing for this all along with the training that I do. I have some goal times in mind and I have high aspirations going into the race.”
The New Balance event next week marks the start of a busy summer for the highly-motivated Erba, who is adamant about her rigorous training regiment. She also plans to attend a distance camp and serve as a counselor at another camp in June before spending a couple of weeks in California in July. Not long after that, it will be time for the start of preseason workouts for her senior season for the WCHS cross country team.
“It’s going to be a busy, full, exciting summer,” concluded Erba.