By Mike Deak
INDIANAPOLIS – Warsaw had been impressive in the 4×800 relay this season. After qualifying for the IHSAA State Finals, but well off the pace, expectations weren’t sky high for the relay.
That all changed Saturday evening.
Warsaw’s relay team of Joey Rastrelli, Ava Knight, Adree Beckham and Wini Barnett obliterated their own school record in the event, and even surprised themselves with a runner-up finish at the State Finals, turning in a 9:16.59, only trailing Carmel’s 9:11.77.
Warsaw had posted a 9:38.50 at the Princess Relays in April, and entered the State Finals with a seed time of 9:48.50 from the regional round.
Rastrelli had an individual performance, racing to 18th in the 1,600 run with a time of 5:18.29. Huntington North’s Addison Wiley was impressive with a championship run of 4:45.27.
Marin Hart earned a podium spot in two events for the Lady Tigers. Her trademark high jump had her clear 5-0, 5-2, 5-4 and 5-5, settling an inch short of the school record, her 5-5 placing eighth overall, one of six athletes to finish at 5-5 in the meet, two making the mark before Hart. Warren Central’s Tacoria Humphrey made 5-9 first, besting Whiteland’s Isabella Jackson on jumps.
Hart was also a podium finisher in the 100 hurdles, moving up from 18th to ninth with a time of 15.47. Rachel Mehringer of Forest Park emerged as state champion at 14.35.
Warsaw’s 4×100 relay team of Avery Fitzgerald, Lilly Boston, Baylee Duncan and Kendra Love placed 24th with a season-best 50.28 and the 4×400 relay team of Rylee Burns, Sarah Kratzsch, Knight and Barnett were 18th at 4:04.92. North Central won the 4×100 at 47.32 and Cathedral won the 4×400 at 3:54.24.
Josie Niebbia did not achieve a height in her three attempts at 10-0 in pole vault to conclude the day’s events for the Lady Tigers, which scored 11 team points, the most for a Warsaw team at the IHSAA State Finals since the 1992 team had 17.33.