WARSAW – Despite a complete flip of the past 24 hours in weather, Warsaw’s girls track made the most of it. Windy, drab and even a little of Mother Nature’s spit fluttering in the Kosciusko County’s seat didn’t stop Warsaw from pounding both Concord, 102-30, and NorthWood, 103-29, in the Northern Lakes Conference triangle.
Warsaw put together 12 of the 16 wins, with NorthWood winning the other four. Audrey Rich pulled a double, winning both the 100 and 200 dashes at 12.50 and 25.53, respectively, for the Tigers. Rich’s 200 time broke the school record of 25.74 which Rich had set a year ago.
Otherwise, seven others won events for the increasingly deep Warsaw roster.
Warsaw’s distance runners were stout as usual. Kenzie Martz led a Warsaw parade to the line in the 800, taking first of the top four spots claimed by Tigers, winning at 2:27.21. Allison Miller won the mile at 5:23.72 and was a distant second in the two-mile, only because teammate Mia Beckham ran at another level in timing in at 11:19.66.
Of the five field events, Warsaw took four of them. Usual suspects Alexie Day in high jump (5-4) and Sam Alexander in long jump (17-9.5) won once again, but add in Natalie Nichols in the discus (93-0) and Emily Bailey in shot put (33-8.5) who both were very happy with their newfound distances.
Warsaw’s three relays all had no trouble posting wins, the 4×800 at 9:49.03, the 4×100 at 49.86 and the 4×400 at 4:14.13.
“The high quality girls that we have are showing through their performance that they can lead by example,” said Warsaw head coach Scott Erba. “We had some girls running lifetime bests in this wind. Granted, there is a nice tailwind down the stretch, but it’s chilly and windy and no one likes standing out here in this. There was no complaining in this meet. We looked better in this meet than I’ve seen at any point all season.”
NorthWood’s Riley Hershberger took both of the hurdles events, the 100 at 15.56 and the 300 at 47.63, neither race remotely close at the finish. Erica Stutzman, who has been a distance maven for the Panthers, was moved to shorter distance races Tuesday, evidence by winning the 400 at 1:00.02. Andrea Tuttle claimed the one field event, clearing 8-6 in pole vault, but had to do so first as both Joelle Messenger and Nikki Parrett of Warsaw also did 8-6 but none of the three could get any higher.
Concord would take the other matchup against NorthWood, 86-46, despite not having an overall winner.
Warsaw, now 5-0 in the NLC, has one conference meet left next Tuesday at Northridge (and Wawasee). The Tigers have won 52 straight NLC duals and will be seeking its 11th straight NLC title in a couple weeks at the conference meet. Erba feels his team is peaking at the right time, once again.
“Our team is starting to gel, and it happens this way every year for us,” Erba said. “You’ve got gaps that have to be filled from graduation the year before, kids getting hurt and so on. Now we’re seeing the puzzle pieces starting to fit and we’re getting a good idea of what we can do with NLC and sectional in a couple weeks. The lineup that we can put together, day to day, that we have the girls to make a really solid lineup. To see them getting better and better so quickly gives us a lot of options.”