BLOOMINGTON – The Warsaw girls track program closed out another successful season in style Saturday.
The Tigers put together a strong showing in the State Finals played out at the Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex on the Indiana University campus.
Seven members of coach Scott Erba’s talented team capped the year in impressive fashion at the 40th annual event.
The Tigers, despite not medaling in any of the six events they participated in, had plenty of premier performances.
Seniors Sarah Ray, Jamie Lacheta and Megan Dearlove all capped their prep careers with fine individual efforts.
The all-underclassmen relay team of junior Jackie Ferguson and sophomores Megan Kratzsch, Nicole Eckert and Tennie Worrell also turned in an outstanding performance.
Ray placed 11th in the 3,200 with a time of 11:02.66 and 14th in the 1,600 in a time of 5:08.06 in her first season competing in track.
Mishawaka star sophomore Anna Rohrer, who won the cross country state title last fall, set a blistering pace to just miss the state record to win the 3,200 in 10:20.68.
“We definitely knew we had to take out the first mile fast in the 3,200,” said Ray. “We expected them to go out fast, but they definitely surprised me how fast they did. I was trying to hold on. Then in the last two laps it hit me that this was my last high school race and I had to give it my all.
“There were just so many people in the 1,600 that I just couldn’t get good positioning.
“I’m disappointed. I wanted to pr in both races and I didn’t. I wanted to get to the podium (a top nine finish) and I didn’t. But, I should be proud to place 11th and 14th. I’m definitely blessed to get this opportunity.”
Ray will move on to run at Olivet Nazarene University.
Bethany Neeley, a senior at Eastern (Greentown), won the 1,600 in a time of 4:53.37. Neeley, who was a standout on Eastern’s state runner-up basketball team, will run at IU, as will her twin sister Brittany.
Lacheta placed 10th in the high jump, just missing a top nine finish and a place on the awards stand. The Valparaiso University volleyball recruit cleared 5-4. Oak Hill sophomore Janae Moffitt won the state title with a top jump of 5-10.
Dearlove ended up 16th in the pole vault as she cleared 10-6. Fort Wayne Carroll junior Sara McKeeman won the title by scaling 12-3.
The 4 X 400 relay team was 14th in the final event of the State Finals. The outstanding quartet of Ferguson, Kratzsch, Eckert and Worrell won their heat and clocked in at 3:59.65.
Ferguson won her heat of the 300 hurdles in the prelims. Her time of 45.86 earned a 17th place finish in the event.
“It was a good finish to the season,” said coach Erba. “I’m proud of how the girls competed today and they should feel good and have their heads up.
“Megan had her second best vault ever and Jamie tied her best jump and had a great finish.
“Sarah showed her character the way she came back and ran in the 3,200. I’m really proud of her. Jackie had her best time and won her heat in the hurdles.
“The relay team had their fastest time and won their heat. They just missed the school record by four-tenths of a second. The great thing is that all of them are back for another year.”
Fort Wayne Northrop won the team title Saturday with 60 points after finishing as runner-up in 2012. Lawrence Central was second this time around with 51 points.
Eastern senior Brittany Neeley set a new state record in winning the 800 title in 2:07.91. Both Neeleys were part of the Eastern 4 X 800 relay team that set a new state meet record with a time of 8:53.74. Lawrence Central junior Adriana Brown set a state record in winning the discus championship with a throw of 168-06.
Warsaw had another stellar season as Erba’s program went undefeated and won NLC, sectional and regional championships along the way. The Tigers overcame much, including the loss of star Ashley Erba. Erba, the state champion in the 3,200 in 2012, missed her senior season due to a foot injury. The Tigers also won the regional title despite losing a pair of key performers in Ann Harvuot and Brittney Rhodes to injury just before the regional.
“The girls did a fantastic job this year,” said Erba. “They kept a good, strong focus.
“They overcame adversity with the weather and the injuries we had to have a very successful season. Maybe one of the most successful we’ve ever had.”