WARSAW – The Warsaw girls track team has performed at a high level all season long.
Coach Scott Erba does not expect that to change come Tuesday night.
The Tigers shoot for a second straight regional championship on their home turf.
Erba knows if his plethora of regional qualifiers perform as expected that the final team standings will take care of themselves in the end.
“We’re in a good position and I like a lot of things about where we are going into it,” said Erba of the regional. “We have the chance for a lot of girls to make it into the finals and then to make it out to State. The scores will take care of themselves.
“I feel optimistic. Our girls belong here. They are here for a reason and that is because they have earned it. They have seen tough competition all year and everyone is in the same boat at the regional.
“The goal is to get as many athletes to advance as we can. It’s very important to get as many through as we can. It’s a great experience to get to be part of the State Finals.”
Warsaw definitely has the numbers to repeat as team champions and lay claim to the fourth regional title in program history. The Tigers will be represented in 15 of the 16 events Tuesday night after dominating their own sectional last week, which included victories in eight events.
The Tigers will be led on the track Tuesday by Ann Harvuot. The junior star won the 100 and 200 at the sectional and is seeded No. 1 in the 200 and No. 2 in the 200 in the regional field.
Warsaw will also count on big points on the track from senior Sarah Ray (3,200), junior Jackie Ferguson (100 hurdles), sophomore Tennie Worrell (400) and its 4 X 100 relay team of Harvuot, freshman Sam Alexander, sophomore Mariah Harter and Brittney Rhodes. All were champions last week as Warsaw claimed its seventh straight sectional title.
The field events are also a strong point for Erba. Seniors Sam Jensen (discus) and Jamie Lacheta (high jump) were both sectional champions and are high seeds for the regional.
Warsaw boasts plenty of depth throughout the regional lineup. Harter will also compete in the 100, Ray in the 1,600, Ferguson and sophomore Nicole Eckert in the 300 hurdles, sophomore Megan Kratzsch in the 400, freshman Hannah Dawson in the 800 and both the 4 X 400 and 4 X 800 relay teams. Junior Courtney Farling and Alexander are both in the long jump and senior Megan Dearlove and junior Claire Hickerson are in the pole vault event.
“We have a lot of girls among the top three seeds in their events who have the inside track,” said Erba. “But, the margin or error now is substantially less at this level of competition. Our girls are aware of that. I think we have a good mix of veterans and newcomers who are excited about the opportunity.”
Warsaw, led by Ashley Erba, won the regional with 70 points in 2012. South Bend Adams was second with 57 points. Erba, who went on to win the state championship in the 3,200 a year ago, has been sidelined her entire senior season due to a foot injury.
Tippecanoe Valley will be represented by six individual competitors and a pair of relay teams in the regional. Sophomore Caylie Teel is entered in the 100 and long jump, sophomore Catherine Leadford in the 300 hurdles, freshman Karis Tucker in the 200, sophomore Jazzmine Brown in the high jump and senior Connor Fraser and junior Hailee Hunsberger in the discus.
Triton freshman Jaela Meister is among the competitors in both the 100 and 300 hurdle races in the regional. Senior Breanna Lemler of the Trojans is in the 400 and Triton’s 4 X 800 relay team is also in the regional field.
Wawasee has one regional entrant in senior Jordan Edington in the shot put.
Lakeland Christian Academy, in its first year as a member of the IHSAA, has senior Hailey Nieveen competing in both the 100 and 300 hurdle events.
The top three finishers in each regional event earn a spot in the State Finals set for June 1 at Indiana University in Bloomington.
Action at the Tigers Athletic Complex Tuesday night begins at 6 p.m. with the 4 X 800 relay as well as competition in the pole vault, high jump, long jump and discus events. The running trials begin at 6:30 with the first track final set for 7:20.