WARSAW – The break from competition was a short one for Warsaw cross country star Ashley Erba.
The WCHS senior, who placed second in the IHSAA State Finals Oct. 27, returns to her passion come Sunday. Erba will take part in the NXN, a regional race sponsored by NIKE back in Terre Haute (site of the state finals).
Erba, who captured the state cross country title in 2011, won sectional, regional and semistate titles this fall. She then was runner-up to Mishawaka sophomore Anna Rohrer at the state finals. Rohrer posted a state record time of 17:13.2, while Erba finished in 17:29.2. Erba had set the state finals record a year ago in winning in a time of 18:05.6.
Erba is also scheduled to compete Nov. 17 in Kettering, Ohio in the Mid-East Cross Country Championships as a member of the Indiana All-Star team. She will be joined at that event by WCHS seniors Jake Poyner and Robert Murphy, who led the Warsaw boys cross country team to a fourth-place finish at the State Finals two weeks ago.
Erba, who earned first-team, All-State honors and was selected as the 5A Runner of the Year, is also slated to participate in the Mid-West Foot Locker Regional qualifier race Nov. 24 in Kenosha, Wisconsin to try and qualify for the Foot Locker Nationals Dec. 8 in San Diego.
“This is a fairly ambitious race schedule to get additional racing experience outside of the high school season against other quality competition and race strategies,” said Warsaw girls cross country coach Scott Erba of his star daughter. “Racing against “unknowns” and learning how to control your own race in a different environment as well as adapting and reacting to the ongoing race.
“I am excited for her to continue to build this ‘national-level’ base of competition as she prepares to run and compete at the Division I level next year. I also believe that getting to know other runners besides seeing a picture or reading a name is valuable in developing lasting relationships based on common interests.”
Rohrer, who ran against Erba three times this cross country season, was reportedly only going to take part in the Foot Locker race Nov. 24 in Wisconsin, according to her high school coach following the State Finals Oct. 27.
Erba, who won a state track championship in the 3,200 and an outdoor national title in the 5,000 with a record-setting time of 16:18.21 at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals both in June, was selected as the Mental Attitude Award winner at the State Finals. She recently committed to run collegiately at Providence College next year.