The fantastic cross country season by the Warsaw trio of Jake Poyner, Robert Murphy and Ellis Coon will get us going to No. 1 on our individual Top 10 list.
5. The Big Three: Warsaw’s trio of Jake Poyner, Robert Murphy and Ellis Coon just can’t be separated. Almost like the way the group was just about unbeatable as a unit on cross country courses last fall. The Big Three, who are much more likable than the Heat’s version of King James, D-Wade and Chris Bosh, made some kind of history last fall. The three led coach Jim Mills’ program to a fourth-place finish at the State Finals. Among competitors from the 24 teams in the field, senior Poyner placed fourth, junior Coon sixth and senior Murphy ninth as each earned All-State honors to lead the Tigers to the highest finish in program history. Poyner placed sixth, Coon eighth and Murphy 14th overall among the 194 total runners at State. The three, as distinctly different as night and day, were poised to do great things this spring on the track. They started the track season by placing 1-2-3 as in Coon, Poyner and Murphy in the 3,200 at the Hoosier State Relays indoors in March. Unfortunately, Coon then missed almost all of the outdoor season due to a foot injury. Poyner, who will run at Wake Forest, and Murphy, who is bound for Vincennes, went on to lead the Tigers to a fifth place finish at the State Finals May 31, also the highest placing ever for that program.
4. Hollar If You Hear Her: It was fitting the record-setting goal by Meredith Hollar came in a goal flurry. Hollar scored goal No. 62, which broke the old Warsaw girls soccer record of 61 held by Ashley Kitchens, in a four-goal outburst to beat rival Wawasee in the sectional. Hollar was a monster on the pitch, finishing her career with 67 goals despite missing more than a season to injury. Hollar, who will move onto Grace College’s pitch next fall, scored 25 goals her senior season and had six games of two or more goals. She tallied goal totals of 28 her sophomore year and 14 as a freshman, missing her entire junior season to a knee injury and missed eight games last year to knee ailments. Hollar helped Warsaw to sectional titles in 2010 and 2012, and the Tigers also won a sectional title in 2011.
3. Sophomore Sensations In Syracuse: At the state level, it was a pair of Wawasee sophomores that made the most noise. Track star JJ Gilmer and swimmer Breanna Robinson both landed within the top four in their respective state championships. Gilmer landed in fourth in the high jump after soaring to titles at Kokomo and Goshen. Robinson, after heading to state the top seed in both the 100 and 200 freestyles, placed third in both events in Indianapolis. It would also be fair to note classmate Clayton Cook also had a nice showing during the track season, placing 16th in the 110-meter hurdles after finishing runner-up at the Kokomo Regional and Goshen Sectional. Cook and Robinson also helped the football and cross country programs in its respective seasons, setting up another year of high expectations next school year for a loaded class.
2. Yeo Have Got To Be Kidding Me: If any one athlete made the biggest impact on their team, it was Triton’s Clay Yeo. The stud basketball player virtually willed his team to sectional, regional and semi-state crowns and nearly put the team on his back before coming up short to Borden at the State Finals. Yeo garnered nearly every state accolade possible, including being just the second-ever Triton basketball player to be named an Indiana All-Star. Yeo led Triton to a 20-6 record and finished with a Triton and Marshall County record 1,992 career points. And despite being double and triple teamed for much of the 2013 state tournament, Yeo scored a whopping 142 of the 278 points Triton accumulated in its six postseason games. Yeo, after helping Indiana to a pair of All-Star wins over Kentucky, will head to Valparaiso University this fall.
1. A Showdown On Center Stage: Warsaw’s Ashley Erba and Mishawaka’s Anna Rohrer only ran against each other twice last fall in high school cross country competition. The pair of stars sure had everyone watching and paying attention when they did. Sophomore Rohrer won the final race of the 2012 season in record-setting fashion at the State Finals in Terre Haute. Her time of 17:13 shattered the old mark of 18:05 set by Erba when she won the state title as a junior in 2011. Erba was runner-up to Rohrer at State in late October in a time of 17:29. Erba’s only loss in the last two seasons prior to State was to Rohrer in the New Prairie Invitational last September. Erba, who will run at Providence College, set a state record by winning at semistate at New Prairie in a time of 17:06.9. Some 90 minutes later in Fort Wayne, Rohrer broke that mark by going 17:03.96 to win her semistate title at IPFW. Erba set a sectional record at Culver Academy and then followed that up with a state and regional record back at the Academy. Erba also won the Mental Attitude Award at the State Finals in October. Rohrer went on to win a championship at the Foot Locker Nationals following her high school season. Erba, who won the state title in the 3,200 in 2012, missed her senior track season due to three fractures in her foot that were discovered in February. Rohrer, who did not compete in the cross country state tournament series as a freshman due to a foot injury in 2011, won a state track title in the 3,200 on June 1 in Bloomington. Rohrer, who missed part of her track season this spring due to tendinitis, ran a 10:20.68, just missing the state record of 10:20.66 set by Waverly Neer of Culver Academy in 2011.