WARSAW – Ann Harvuot has a love and a passion for horseback riding.
Maybe that’s part of the reason that the Warsaw senior runs like a thoroughbred on the track.
Harvuout, a standout sprinter for the Tigers, will run on her home track one final time Tuesday night.
Harvuout has plenty of motivation for the Warsaw Regional. She will be looking to qualify for State as an individual in the 100-meter dash and as a member of the 4 X 100 relay team.
Harvuout, who was a State qualifier in the 100 as a sophomore in 2012, missed the regional a year ago after being injured in a horseback riding accident right before it.
“I’m definitely motivated,” said Harvuot prior to practice on Friday. “I definitely want to go to State in the 100 and I really want our relay team to make it too. I feel like this is redemption for me.”
Harvuot sat in the stands at Warsaw last year and watched as her teammates won a second straight regional championship.
“It was hard,” said Harvuot of the experience. “It was really frustrating and disappointing to sit there and watch knowing you could have done it.
“But, I wanted to be there for my teammates. I wanted to be there to support them.”
Harvuot has had a remarkable run in her high school career. She won the 100 four straight times in the Northern Lakes Conference Meet and claimed her fourth straight sectional championship in the race last week as Warsaw won its eighth straight sectional team title.
“I was pleased with how I ran in the sectional,” Harvuot said. “It was exciting to win four times in a row.
“I came into high school not expecting any of this by any means. I just wanted to run track, do my best and help the team.
“I’ve had a really good support system. I’ve had a lot of good teammates who have been really supportive and who have pushed me. I have a really good coach. I owe all of them a lot.”
Harvuot has been running well despite a back injury. The ailment has forced her out of the 200.
“I have a crack in my spine,” related Harvuot. “It’s okay. It can get pretty bad, but resting helps it. The 200 is the race that that is really bad on my back.”
Harvuout is tied for the third fastest seed time at 12.86 heading into the 100 prelims Tuesday night. The 4 X 100 relay team of Harvuot, junior Mariah Harter and sophomores Samantha Alexander and Audrey Rich is seeded second at 49.38.
The top three finishers in each event at the regional earn a spot in the State Finals at Indiana University on June 6.
“I’m a bundle of nerves, the bigger the meet,” admitted Harvuot. “I put pressure on myself. I have a problem with that. I’ll be very nervous at the regional. It will hit me when I get in the blocks.”
Warsaw coach Scott Erba knows Harvuot and his team have a great opportunity Tuesday night.
“This is a strong regional with a lot of talent in it,” said Erba. “That competition should elevate our girls to their best performances of the season. That’s what we will need to get as many athletes to State as we can.
“I expect Ann to have her season best performance. We need her best. We know that. The times are very close in the 100. We’ve worked on some mechanical things with her, like her start. It’s who has the best complete race Tuesday night.
“I’m really glad she gets to run this year. I know last year hurt.
“Ann has a sprinting gear that not many have and she does not like to lose. She’s done some special things here. To win four NLC and four sectionals is real impressive. It’s amazing that she has not lost in a championship race. I’m just very impressed with her career for us.”
Harvuot, who plans to attend IU, does not compete on horses like she does on the track.
“I don’t do competitons, but riding is my No. 1 passion,” commented Harvuot. “I’ve been doing it since I was seven. I started taking riding lessons then and I just love it.”
The Warsaw Regional Tuesday night begins with field events and the 3,200 relay finals at 6 p.m. Time trials on the track start at 6:30 with finals scheduled for 7:30.