WARSAW – Brooke Rhodes does not have to look far to find inspiration for her prep cross country career.
Rhodes, a key performer for the No. 6 Warsaw girls cross country team, counts on her father Matt to provide plenty of motivation to fuel her desire for success.
The elder Rhodes was also a cross country runner during his high school days in Warsaw.
“I love talking to my Dad about running,” said Rhodes. “He’s constantly giving me good advice. It’s great and it’s inspiring to me.
“My Dad still tells me stories about his running days. It’s great to hear about his determination when he was a runner.”
Rhodes and her team is preparing to compete in the State Finals Saturday in Terre Haute. It’s the fifth overall trip to State for the program and the fourth year in a row they have qualified.
Rhodes, a junior, is one of seven underclassmen slated to compete Saturday at 1 p.m. for coach Matt Campbell’s deep and talented team.
Campbell, who is serving as interim coach this season with Scott Erba taking a year off, raves about Rhodes.
“Brooke is just a great teammate,” said coach Campbell. “She’s just one of those good girls to have on a team.
“She’s a very caring individual and a great listener. She always has a smile on her face and brings a positive atmosphere to the team. I look for a big race from her come Saturday for us.”
Rhodes helped the Tigers place third at the New Prairie Semistate this past Saturday. She was 26th overall in a time of 20:05. Warsaw also won sectional and regional championships at Culver Academies this postseason. Rhodes was fifth overall in 20:08 at the sectional in a time of 20:08, but did not run at the regional as Campbell altered his deep lineup to give others a chance to compete.
“It’s been a pretty amazing season,” said Rhodes. “We’ve just a great group of girls on this team. All of us care about each other and all of us want to see each other and our team succeed.”
“Matt (Campbell) is a great coach and he’s been amazing to run for this season. He’s so helpful and tells us all the time what we can do.”
Warsaw placed 21st as a team at the State Finals a year ago. Rhodes was 128th individually in a time of 20:19, the second Warsaw runner to cross the finish line at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course at the Wabash Valley Sports Center in Terre Haute.
The Tigers, whose best ever finish was 11th in 2011, have some high goals in mind for Saturday.
“We can do so much at State,” Rhodes remarked. “We have the ability. It would be a great feeling to get in the top 10 and make school history. That would be very emotional to do that and we can.”
“I just want to encourage my teammates and help our younger girls know what to expect Saturday. I also want to get a better time and a better place than I did last year at State.”
“I’m excited, mixed with wondering what will happen come Saturday. There’s some anxiety with what’s going to happen.”
No matter what, expect Rhodes to be inspired to run her best come Saturday.
That’s a given.