It’s been smooth sailing for the Warsaw girls cross country team this season.
The Warsaw boys team, on the other hand, has had a roller-coaster campaign.
The pair will each shoot for one more big performance though come Saturday in the New Prairie Semistate.
Both Tiger teams, who have won sectional and regional titles the past two Saturdays at Culver Academies, will be aiming for a top six finish in their respective races to earn a spot in the State Finals in Terre Haute on Nov. 1.
The No. 6 Warsaw ladies should be in the mix for a semi state title in a field featuring six ranked teams, led by a very good West Lafayette team.
“We are going after it on Saturday,” said Warsaw girls coach Matt Campbell. “We would like to place in the top three. That’s been our goal all season.”
“We’ve talked all week about placings and positioning and how every girl counts on Saturday. We’ve had a huge advantage with our depth this year. Everyone has contributed to our success. Our motto is every individual counts and that’s what has been so great about this team this season.”
The Tigers, who were second to West Lafayette at the semi state a year ago, will be led by Allison Miller. The standout sophomore won individual titles at both the sectional and regional the past two weeks.
Warsaw has the advantage of now going full strength after Campbell mixed and matched his lineup at both the sectional and regional. The young and deep ladies have been strong all year with the exception of placing second to Northridge at the NLC Meet three weeks ago by one point.
“Our girls are fine and I think it helps us that we did have an easier sectional and regional,” Campbell said. “We were able to back off a little bit. I think that the NLC Meet left a sour taste in our mouths. These girls are looking for some redemption.”
The ladies lineup will feature Miller, along with Hannah Dawson, Anna Craig, Emma Hayward, Brooke Rhodes, Mia Beckham and Charlene Orr.
Warsaw boys coach Jim Mills knows his team is capable of putting it all together on Saturday.
They will need to in order to get a return trip to the State Finals.
The Tiger boys have been slowed by injuries and illness all season long.
“We have a team that can advance,” said Mills. “Everyone has to be on for us and we have to run the way that we are capable of. If we do that, I think we will be in the mix with four or five teams for one of the final two spots probably.”
“I will probably be nervous for the first time all year on Saturday. I know that we can do it, but you just don’t know the way this team has been all year and how our season has gone.”
The Tiger lineup for the boys field, which includes seven ranked teams, will included Owen Glogovsky, Daniel Messenger, Nick Bergen, Jonathan Beres and Nate Howett. Mills said earlier this week that Jacob DeBoest would likely also be in the lineup with either Avery Torres or T.J. Day taking the seventh spot.
Bergen, who was a top returnee this season with Glogovsky, Messenger and Beres for last year’s team that was fourth at the semi state, has missed most of the season due to an injury.
“We just have some unknowns,” concluded Mills.
The girls race Saturday at New Prairie High School begins at 10:30 a.m. CT. The boys will follow at 11:15 a.m. CT.
Motivated Cockrill At Fort Wayne Saturday
Zach Cockrill will have plenty of motivation when he steps to the starting line Saturday for his semi state race in Fort Wayne.
The Wawasee standout missed a spot at the State Finals last year on the course by 1.23 seconds.
Cockrill will shoot to be in the top 10 individual runners not on advancing teams at the New Haven Semistate Saturday run on the IPFW course. He was 23rd overall there last year in a time of 16:23, but 11th among runners on non-advancing teams to just miss a trip to State by one place last fall.
Cockrill knows what he needs to do on Saturday.
“I just have to stay up with the front guys,” said Cockrill. “Last year, I waited until the end and that caught up to me. I can’t wait to pick and choose my gaps. My biggest problem (at this year’s regional) was letting the top guys get a gap on me. I need to be more aggressive with the top guys and not let them separate from me.”
Cockrill was fifth overall at the sectional (16:52) and 15th overall at the regional (17:04) at Ox Bow Park each of the past two Saturdays to earn his spot in the semi state as an individual.
“The worst thing this year was not having someone, like an Adam Doll (graduated Wawasee teammate), to chase after and push me,” noted Cockrill. “I always could count on Adam to be up front, and that was what helped me in the tournament last year. It hurt me a little this year. You’re always going to be more competitive with a teammate to chase than chasing another team’s number one. I know a couple other guys from other schools, like (Gerardo) Abad from Goshen, so that fuels me to want to run with them.”
The girls race Saturday at the IPFW course begins at 1 p.m. ET with the boys race to follow at 1:45.
The top six teams and the top 10 individuals not on an advancing team earn a spot in the State Finals in Terre Haute on Nov. 1.