WARSAW – Tennie Worrell will walk off the track as a competitor for the final time come Saturday night.
The WCHS senior, no matter what the time or the place that shows up on the scoreboard at the State Finals, will leave the sport as a true winner in every sense of the word.
Worrell, an outstanding student-athlete, is set to make her fourth appearance at the State Finals on the Indiana University campus in Bloomington.
Worrell has returned to the track after missing both the Northern Lakes Conference and Warsaw Sectional meets due to an injury suffered in practice about a month ago. She will be competing as a member of the 4 X 400 relay team for the fourth straight year in Bloomington after returning for the Warsaw Regional on May 26 and helping her team place second.
“This means a lot to me,” said Worrell at practice on Tuesday. “My teammates on the 4 X 400 are the best. They are just awesome. The goal at the start of the year was to go to State and here we are. It’s crazy for me to think that I’ve been to State all four years.”
Worrell had to sit and watch as her individual goal of a fourth straight sectional title in the 400 did not happen due to the hip flexor injury that sidelined her. Despite the disappointment, Worrell kept her team-first attitude throughout the process.
“It was tough to watch that 400 at the sectional, knowing that I could be out there going for a fourth championship,” admitted Worrell. “As a competitor, it was frustrating. But I just wanted to work hard and prove to my coaches that I was ready for the relay.”
Warsaw won the sectional title in the 4 X 400 as junior Brooke Rhodes took Worrell’s spot in the lineup.
“Tennie is such a humble, well-rounded young lady,” said Warsaw girls track coach Scott Erba. “She came to me before the regional and was concerned about taking Brooke’s spot coming back in the relay. That type of attitude is Tennie. It was refreshing and kind of took me aback because you don’t see that attitude a lot these days.
“We told her that it was her spot and she had earned it. She’s earned everything she has gotten. I feel good about her going down to State. This is four years and not many athletes accomplish that.”
“All of my teammates work hard and Brooke did a great job in the relay when I was out,” remarked Worrell. “I just wanted coach Erba to know that I wanted to work hard and earn my spot back.
“Being part of this team and program is really special to me. I love track and I love my teammates. It’s a culture of working hard here and we all want to be here and want to run. We put it all out there and to see the results is really cool.”
Worrell has helped Erba’s program win four conference, four sectional and four regional championships in her prep career. She was fifth in the 400 at the regional last year, fourth in 2013 and ninth in 2012. She teamed with Nicole Eckert, Jackie Ferguson and Hannah Dawson last year to place 14th at State in the 4 X 400. Her team was also 14th at State in 2013 and 11th in 2012.
Worrell also stars in the classroom where she has earned numerous honors, including Academic All-State accolades for track. She will attend IU and earned a prestigious Fry Scholarship to the Kelly School of Business.
Worrell will team with seniors Eckert and Jazzmine Brown and junior Audrey Rich for one final race Saturday evening in fittingly enough the final event of the State Finals. The team takes a seed time of 4:02.31 into the Finals. She has a big goal for her final race, trying to reach the school record time of 3:59.22 that was set way back in 1987.
“The cherry on top would be getting that school record,” commented Worrell. “That’s our goal at State. That would be perfect. I just want it to be a fun last night to be proud of.”
Spoken like a true winner.