Warsaw volleyball begins our list of the Top 10 athletic teams for the 2012-13 season.
10. Streak Busters: August 23, 2012 should be a memorable day for a long, long time for the Warsaw volleyball program. That was the night a veteran, gutty Tiger team snapped Elkhart Memorial’s 76-match winning streak in Northern Lakes Conference play. Coach Mike Howard’s team, inspired by a pep talk from senior Sam Jensen, rallied from a 2-1 deficit to top the host Chargers 3-2. The last, and only other, time Memorial lost a league match was to Warsaw in its first-ever NLC match back in 2001. Coach Jacquie Rost’s prolific program at Memorial has made four trips to the Class 4-A State Finals and earned two state runner-up finishes. Warsaw went on to finish 7-0 in the NLC to claim its first title since 2001. The Tigers, led by Valparaiso University recruit Jamie Lacheta (one of five seniors), went on to finish at 27-6.
9. Not Your Typical Triton Team: It was just a few years ago Triton struggled to compete on the softball diamond. But when you develop pitching and a solid defense, good things tend to happen. The Lady Trojans from Bourbon won just its second sectional title in program history by beating Westville and Culver in convincing fashion before bowing out in the regional to eventual two-time defending state champ Lakewood Park Christian. During the season Triton set the school record for wins with 22 while junior pitcher Mallorie Jennings piled onto her school-record strikeout total with 244 more, another school record for a season. All this from a team that had no seniors. And of minor note, Lakewood Park Christian moves up to 2-A next season, which should make the 1-A regional round that much more interesting.
8. Keeping Firm Footing: The Warsaw girls track program faced more than its fair share of challenges this spring, mainly in the form of injuries. Coach Scott Erba’s team didn’t blink though as it put another stellar season in the record books. The Tigers went undefeated again in the regular season, including winning titles at the Turtletown Invitational at Churubusco and the Kokomo Relays. Warsaw then won its eighth straight overall NLC championship, followed by its seventh straight sectional title and second consecutive regional crown. The Tigers sent a strong group to state in Sarah Ray, Jamie Lacheta, Megan Dearlove and Jackie Ferguson in individual events and its 4 x 400 relay team of Ferguson, Tennie Worrell, Megan Kratzsch and Nicole Eckert. Warsaw was without star and defending state champion Ashley Erba all season due to a foot injury, while standout sprinter Ann Harvuot and Brittney Rhodes missed the regional due to injuries suffered the weekend before the meet.
7. Numbers Game In Akron: Notable numbers were everywhere for the Tippecanoe Valley boys basketball team during the 2012-13 season. The most notable was a sectional championship for the first time in six years. The Vikings claimed the Class 3-A Wawasee Sectional title en route to a 20-4 season. Valley went 7-0 in the Three Rivers Conference and claimed its first outright league title since going unbeaten during the 2007-08 campaign. The Vikings had big, big numbers in a home TRC win over Wabash. The 146-56 victory shattered the previous school record for points in a game which was 118. Star junior Tanner Andrews tied the single-game record with 51 points in the rout and added 31 rebounds, which drew statewide attention. Senior Nick Kindig also became just the 10th player ever at TVHS to score 1,000 points during the season and coach Bill Patrick claimed his 700th coaching win, making him just the fifth boys basketball coach in state history to reach the remarkable total.
6. Tigers Triumphs Continue: Something special. That was the rallying cry preached all season by Warsaw boys track coach Matt Thacker. A talented, competitive and well-coached Tiger team made that a reality. The awful April weather was really the only thing that slowed the Tigers all season long. The group, despite missing star distance man Ellis Coon most of the outdoor season due to a foot injury, was dominating. Warsaw went 7-0 in conference meets to run its winning streak to 20 straight dating back to 2011. The team won its third straight sectional title and edged rival Penn to claim its second regional crown in the last three years and just the fourth in program history. The Tigers capped it off at the State Finals with a best-ever fifth place finish in Bloomington May 31. Distance stars Jake Poyner and Robert Murphy led the way in the final meet, while Seth Fouts was huge in the shot put as was the 4 x 400 relay team of Nathan Kolbe, Wyatt Jones, Ryan Goon and Gabe Furnivall.
Honorable Mention: Warsaw Girls Soccer; Warsaw Boys Golf; Tippecanoe Valley Football; Warsaw Boys Basketball; Whitko Baseball