WARSAW – Matt Thacker is smart enough to know that there are no guarantees come regional time.
The Warsaw boys track coach, that being said, also knows by looking at the heat sheet that his team sits in a very good position to capture a championship come Thursday night.
The Tigers will not only have athletes competing in 15 of 16 events, but will also host the regional this year at the TAC.
Thacker talked about his team focusing on the task at hand and ignoring the distractions of being at home after watching his deep and talented squad dominate the field at the Goshen Sectional last Thursday night.
“We have to treat the regional as just another meet,” said Thacker after seeing his team pile up 147 points to claim its sixth straight sectional crown. “We have to manage and minimize the distractions of being at home and as coaches we will do that. We know our track and our field event facilities and we need to use that to our advantage to get a good contingent qualified for State.”
The Warsaw Regional will feature athletes from the Goshen, Bremen, South Bend St. Joseph and Kokomo sectionals last week. The Tigers, along with Whitko, Kokomo and Penn all claimed sectional championships.
The top three athletes in each event at the regional earn a spot in the State Finals set for Saturday, June 4 at Indiana University in Bloomington.
Thacker knows his squad is poised to have another big night come Thursday.
“The fact that we are represented by a large quality group is huge in the team aspect of the regional, but you never know,” said Thacker. “Nothing is guaranteed. The regional is the most difficult to figure because your team is smaller, but so are the other teams.
“Penn and Goshen come to mind as both offer depth and quality athletes looking to get to the same place we want to be. Honestly, NorthWood is a big contender as they have top flight athletes who can score big time points in the meet. We will have to compete like we did last week, but there will also need to be some special performances to pull it off.”
The host Tigers are position to score points all over the track and in the field events come Thursday night. Senior Ross Armey is the top seed in the 300 hurdles with a time of 39.17. Senior distance star Owen Glogovsky is seeded fourth in both the 1,600 and the 3,200.
Warsaw has senior Rane Kilburn as the fourth seed in the 100. Also on the track for the Tigers, freshman Zeb Hernandez is in the 1,600, sophomore Tristan Larsh in the 400, junior Trent Thompson in the 800, senior Brandon Reinholt in the 200 and sophomore Lucas Howett in the 3,200. The Tigers also have all three of their relay teams in the regional mix with the 4 X 100 boasting the No. 3 seed time.
The field events are also loaded with Warsaw athletes. Seniors Luke Wilson and Brock Riley will compete in the high jump with senior Tommy Hickerson having the No. 2 seed in the long jump. Senior Dylan Childers is in both the discus and shot put competitions with junior Jaceb Burish in the discus and sophomore John Svinarich in the shot put. Senior Lucas Cone, who was a champion at the sectional, is in the pole vault.
The Tigers have won five regional titles with the last coming in 2014. Thacker also guided his squad to regional crowns in both 2011 and 2013. Warsaw was fourth at the South Bend St. Joseph Regional a year ago, which Northridge won with 49 points. St. Joe was second and South Bend Washington third in 2015.
Whitko will have a strong contingent at Warsaw for the regional. The Wildcats won five events to claim their second straight sectional crown last week, outscoring Plymouth 132-112 to take the title at Bremen. Coach Ron Cherry’s squad will be led into the regional by sectional champions Garrett Elder, Alex Morales, Brady Weeks and Walker Hobbs. Junior Elder won the 100 and long jump sectional crowns, while junior Morales took the 110 hurdles, senior Weeks the 300 hurdles and senior Hobbs the shot put.
The Wildcats will also have sophomore Alex Wilson in the 100 and long jump events at the regional, along with sophomore Shad Ebbinghouse in the 300 hurdles, freshman Zack Freel in the high jump, junior Conner Sherwin in the discus and junior Gavin Howard in the shot put. The Whitko 4 X 100 relay team is also in the field.
Wawasee will have a pair of individuals in action and a relay team at Warsaw. Junior Cole VanLue is in the 100 with freshman Luke Griner in the 300 hurdles. The Warriors’ 4 X 800 relay team will also compete.
Tippecanoe Valley will have senior standout Neil Clampitt in the 200 and also as part of its 4 X 100 relay team. Clampitt was second in the 200, third in the long jump and helped the relay team place second in the Bremen Sectional. Sophomore Gavin Good will be in the long jump for the Vikings.
Triton will be represented at the regional by Trey Watkins. The senior will compete in the discus.
The Warsaw Regional begins with field events at 6 p.m. The 3,200 relay final is also slated for 6 p.m., with running trials at 6:30 and running finals at 7:30.
Admission Thursday night is $7 with pre schoolers and younger free.