The Warsaw Community High School long distance superstar is definitely not living in the past though as she prepares to enter her senior season.
But, what a summer it was for Erba.
The list included a track state championship in the 3,200-meter run June 1 in Bloomington. That was followed by the highlight of her career as she set a meet record in winning the 5,000-meter run in a time of 16:18.21 at the prestigious New Balance Outdoor Nationals June 14 in North Carolina. Erba then spent time as a counselor at running camps in Culver and Carmel before recently spending a couple of weeks in California honing her skills.
“Busy, full,” responded Erba when asked to sum up her summer. “But, it’s been really great. One of the best summers ever that’s for sure. The Nationals were huge for me. Getting to that next level is always my goal and that was a big step. To set the record felt very good and was inspiring and good for my confidence for college.”
With all she’s added to her impressive running resume in the last eight weeks or so, Erba now moves on to her final cross country season for WCHS. She is the defending state champion after setting a state record in the 5,000-meter event last October with a championship time of 18:05.6 in Terre Haute.
“I love our team this year,” said Erba, whose father Scott is the girls cross country and track coach at WCHS. “Winning state again this year is very important to me. I had some great training this summer and I’m really ready to race. There’s just something about competing.
“I don’t feel pressure about winning state again. For me, it’s more excitement. I’m not going to get caught up in who’s chasing me. I know what my goals are and I’m going to be as prepared as I can be to meet those.”
“My expectations are so much higher for myself than anyone else’s. When I walk up to that line for a race I know that I’ve prepared the best I can for that event. Early in my high school career I struggled with that and had a lot of what ifs?. Now I have total peace of mind.”
Erba knows she would not be near the runner she is without the support system of her family, including her father Scott, and the dedication she’s made to the sport she loves.
“I wouldn’t be where I am without my dad,” said Erba. “We both share a passion for the sport and running has been a great bonding thing for us. His impact on me has been huge. We work together so well and he’s always been there with his knowledge and passion. He’s a rock for me.
“There’s also no way I’d be close to where I’m at now without all of the hard work, focus, effort and dedication I’ve put into what I do. So much of what I do involves running and I’m able to embrace it.”
Erba’s future appears to be getting brighter and brighter when it comes to the next level as in college. Since July 1, when college coaches could officially start contacting her, the calls have been coming in from some of the top programs in the country.
“So far, it’s gone well,” said Erba of the recruiting process. “It’s not been overwhelming. For me, it’s been more exciting. I’m at the point now where I’m narrowing down where I want to take my official visits to.”
Erba keeps track of the schools that have contacted her on a map in her room. So far there are more than 50 programs pinpointed there, including powers such as Georgetown, Washington, Providence, Stanford, Columbia, Arkansas, New Mexico and Florida State. Erba is slated to make official visits this fall to both Georgetown and Washington.
“It’s going to come down to do I love and trust the coach at the school I choose and can they help get me to where I want to go as a runner,” said Erba.
Erba is not only elite in her sport, but excels in the classroom as she ranks 11th in her class of 502 students at WCHS. She is also completely healthy and regularly consults with a nutritionist, among others.
Erba, who possesses a tremendous work ethic, is also thinking well beyond her college career.
“I don’t want college to be the end for me,” said Erba. “I want to be at the Olympic Trials in 2016 and I want to run professionally. Those are big goals, but to me they are things I can achieve and not ridiculous. They are very reachable for me.”
With the combination of talent, focus and drive she has, don’t bet against it.