WARSAW – Warsaw girls track coach Scott Erba has some lofty expectations for his team as they begin postseason competition Tuesday night.
Of course, why wouldn’t he?
The loaded Tigers aim for their seventh straight sectional championship at home Tuesday at the Tigers Athletic Complex.
Warsaw, which dominated the NLC Meet at home last Tuesday night, headlines the field of 12 teams. The sectional features Warsaw, Wawasee, Concord, Elkhart Central, Elkhart Memorial, Elkhart Christian Academy, Fairfield, Goshen, Jimtown, Lakeland Christian Academy, Northridge and NorthWood.
The top four finishers in each sectional event earn a spot back at WCHS for the regional on May 21.
“Now, it’s all about advancing as many individuals and relay teams as we can,” said Erba. “We have the opportunity this year to advance more athletes than ever before. I’d like to see us bring a full squad back to the regional.
“We have a lot of girls who have gone through this before. They are feeling really good about themselves after we had so many season bests and personal bests at the NLC Meet. That was very encouraging.”
The Tigers, who won the NLC meet with a record 202 points by winning 10 events, are a deep and talented bunch. Warsaw, even with defending state champion Ashley Erba sidelined all season due to a foot injury, has not missed a beat.
“It’s a testament to the depth we have,” said Erba, whose team has won eight NLC titles in a row. “If everyone does their job on Tuesday night, we know the points will add up for us and be there. It’s important to not only win events, but to get those second, third and fourth places.”
The Tigers boast defending sectional champions in junior Ann Harvuot in both the 100 and 200 and sophomore Tennie Worrell in the 400. Warsaw also won a pair of relay races, the 4 X 100 and 4 X 400, in the sectional a year ago.
Harvuot won both the 100 and 200 at the NLC Meet and Worrell claimed the 400 title.
Senior Sarah Ray will be one to watch Tuesday night in the distance events. Ray, in her first season running track, has had a huge impact for the Tigers. She won both the 1,600 and 3,200 in impressive fashion at the NLC Meet.
Other Tigers to watch at the sectional include Sam Jensen in the discus, Megan Dearlove and Claire Hickerson in the pole vault and Jamie Lacheta in the high jump. Also key are Jackie Ferguson in the hurdles, Nicole Eckert in the hurdles and relays, Megan Kratzsch in the 400 and relays, Sam Alexander in the long jump and relays, Brittney Rhodes in the relays., Mariah Harter in the 100 and relays and Brooklyn Harrison in the shot put.
The Tigers won the sectional title in 2012 with 160 points. Northridge was runner-up with 87. Warsaw then returned home the following to week to claim the regional championship with 70 points.
“A perfect case scenario for us in the sectional would be to advance all three of our relay teams and at least one individual in all of the 13 other events,” Erba said.
Wawasee will be led Tuesday by senior Jordan Edington, who is the defending sectional champion in the shot put. Others to watch for coach Scott Lancaster’s team, which placed eighth at the sectional a year ago, include Catherine Yankosky in the 100 and 200, Sarah Lancaster in the relays and Courtney Linnemeier in the distances.
Field events begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Warsaw. The 3,200 relay takes place at 5:45 with the track trials starting at 6 p.m. and the running finals at 7 p.m.