Her talented teammates made sure there was also no doubt about the team part of the competition.
The No. 13 Tigers, led by yet another record setting performance by Erba, blazed to the team championship at Miller Field.
Erba, the defending state champion, smashed her own course record in a dominating winning effort of 18:04. Erba, who won the event three of her four years, ran 18:20 last year.
Warsaw also dominated the team portion as senior Sarah Ray placed second and freshman Hannah Dawson fourth as the Tigers posted a team score of 31, far ahead of runner-up Columbia City’s 88 and No. 18 Huntington North’s 90, in the 11-team field.
“This is always a fun race and my time for today is fine,” said Erba. “I definitely feel good about it. I did what the plan was for today. I want my great races to come at the end of the season. I’m just building up right now and my training is going well. I’m excited about what’s to come.”Erba, who won a state title in the 3,200-meter run in June, is also excited about how her team is doing thus far.
“I just love this team and they are incredible,” Erba said. “Sarah has been an awesome addition this year. She’s a cross country natural and it’s been a ton of fun for me to have her on the team. We also have a lot of younger girls stepping up and that’s nice to see.”
Ray has been a tremendous addition for the Tigers. The talented point guard on the basketball team is in her first season in cross country. The senior was runner-up to Erba Tuesday in 19:29.
“It’s been great to have Sarah out this year,” said WCHS coach Scott Erba, whose team placed 11th at the State Finals in 2011. “She’s been a great asset with her performances and her attitude. She’s a fiery competitor.
“It seems we haven’t missed a beat even with all the girls we lost off last year’s team and people are starting to see that. We’re in a good position. We use meets like this one as learning experiences.
“One of Ashley’s goals is to stay undefeated. She’s done a great job reaching the personal goals she’s set for herself. She doesn’t surprise me. She reaches and gets what she goes after because of the hard work she puts into it.”Freshman Dawson was fourth overall in 20:17 for the champion Tigers. Junior Madeline Hooks was 11th in 21:16, with freshman Emma Hayward 13th (21:27), senior Tayler Mylin 14th (21:30) and sophomore Hannah Thompson 24th (22:03) for Warsaw’s scoring.
The champion Tigers had six personal best times Tuesday from Dawson, Brooke Rhodes, Cindi Trier, Claire Kehler, Ann Harvuot and Nicole Brackett. Courtney Etchison had a season best time for Warsaw.
Freshman Brigit Nemitz was fifth overall in a time of 20:19 to lead Whitko to a seventh-place finish in the team standings.
Warsaw faces Concord and Elkhart Memorial in NLC action at Memorial Sept. 4. The Tigers then compete in the Fort Wayne Northrop Invitational Sept. 8. The final home meet of the season and Senior Night is Sept. 11 versus Goshen and Plymouth.
Team Scores: Warsaw 31, Columbia City 88, Huntington North 90, Northfield 98, Fairfield 130, West Noble 140, Whitko 215, NorthWood 215, Wabash 265, Peru 290, Tippecanoe Valley 294.
Top 15 Individuals: Ashley Erba (Warsaw) 18:04; Sarah Ray (Warsaw) 19:29; Jenna Holderman (Northfield) 19:54; Hannah Dawson (Warsaw) 20:17; Brigit Nemitz (Whitko) 20:19; Hannah Stoffel (Huntington North) 20:26; Samantha Roush (Columbia City) 20:41; Amairany Cruz (West Noble) 20:55; Valeria Guzman (West Noble) 21;11; Taylor Stidham (Fairfield) 21:15; Madeline Hooks (Warsaw) 21:16; Tiffany Harber (Columbia City) 21:18, Emma Hayward (Warsaw) 21:27; Tayler Mylin (Warsaw) 21:30; Brooke Mast (Fairfield) 21:35.
Warsaw Individuals: Tennie Worrell 25th (22:06), Emily Stouder 29th (22:09), Brooke Rhodes 34th (22:18), Claire Kehler 37th (22:35), Cynthia Yoder 43rd (22:47), Kara Millington 47th (22:53), Jackie Ferguson 61st (24:10), Alexis Himes 67th (24:32), Audra Harman 70th (24:46), Alexis Winters 74th (25:11), Courtney Etchison 78th (25:31), Laine Hertel 84th (25:48), Ann Harvuot 97th (28:01), Cindi Trier 98th (28:02), Nicole Brackett 106th (29:07), Emma Lehman 108th (29:19).
Whitko Individuals: Holly Frantz 49th (22:56), Melanie Kelsey 66th (24:27), Michelle Kelsey 79th (25:37), Becca Thomson 87th (26:15), Courtney Edwards 88th (26:28).
Tippecanoe Valley Individuals: Britany Childers 71st (24:47), Brooklyn Conley 77th (25:22), Karly Kitch 80th (25:39), Emily Childers 83rd (25:44), Kayla Long 94th (27:39).
Note: Placing is for entire field of runners, not where the individual was scored for their team.