Warsaw senior Ann Harvuot (L) prepares to take the baton from sophomore Audrey Rich during the 4x100 relay team’s first-place finish. Photo by Anthony Gadson, Times-Union
Warsaw senior Ann Harvuot (L) prepares to take the baton from sophomore Audrey Rich during the 4x100 relay team’s first-place finish. Photo by Anthony Gadson, Times-Union
A ninth-consecutive Northern Lakes Conference championship for the Warsaw girls track and field team seems like foregone conclusion.
Completing their NLC regular season at 7-0, the Warsaw Lady Tigers took down Goshen 97-35 Tuesday night at the Tigers Athletic Complex, extending their conference dual meet winning streak to 39.
“That’s a nice little thing, but not something I think about too much,” Warsaw coach Scott Erba said about the NLC winning streak. “Each week, we just try to do our job and (the wins) just kind of stack up.”
As the wins have stacked up this year, the Lady Tigers haven’t even been pushed in the process.
Winning by an average of 69 points, Erba was afforded the luxury of resting some of his athletes in the regular season finale.
Even with top senior sprinter Ann Harvuot relegated to just the anchor leg of the winning 4x100 relay (50.00) with junior Mariah Harter, sophomore Samantha Alexander and sophomore Audrey Rich, Warsaw still won both sprints, as Harter finished first in the 100 (13.17) and Rich was the top runner in the 200 (26.55).
Freshman Allison Miller also had her load lightened, taking off the 3200 after winning the 1600 in 5:22.30.
“With the depth of our team, we were able to mix up lineups to be able to rest girls,” Erba said.  “We only had Ann running the 4x100, but other girls stepped up with Mariah Harter coming through in the 100. (Sophomore) Emma Hayward, she also ran in the 3200 and got her first victory (with Miller resting). It’s a good thing to be able to spread things out and let other girls shine.”
Winning 14 of the 16 events, Warsaw swept the three relays and had a different girl win each of the other 11 events.
Also finishing first for the Lady Tigers were senior Jackie Ferguson (100 hurdles, 17.06), junior Tennie Worrell (400, 1:04.08), junior Nicole Eckert (300 hurdles, 47.45), sophomore Hannah Dawson (800, 2:25.39), senior Claire Hickerson (pole vault, 9-6), Alexander (long jump, 16-6) and senior Brooklyn Harrison (shot put, 34-10).
Joining the 4x100 relay in first-place finishes were the 4x800 team of freshman Charlene Orr, senior Madeline Hooks, sophomore Brooke Rhodes and Dawson (10:02.44) and the 4x400 foursome of Eckert, Rich, Worrell and Ferguson (4:17.67).
Making the victory even sweeter for Erba was the way in which his girls competed, as he began to notice his girls letting up as they were blowing out Plymouth (82.5-49.5) and Elkhart Memorial (87-45) last week at home.
“We had a little talk last week after the meet, because I didn’t think we were being very competitive,” he said. “We really challenged the girls and they responded very, very well over the weekend (finishing second at the Kokomo Relays) and tonight. We had some best times tonight, with a bunch of (teammates) running beside them. That’s a testament to them and it encourages us as coaches, to know they still have the fire. I was concerned that, perhaps, it wasn’t there. I think we’re in very good shape for the NLC meet, and doing very, very well there and sectional and beyond.”
The NLC meet will be back at the Tigers Athletic Complex Tuesday, but it’s hard to believe the result will be anything but the Lady Tigers’ ninth-straight title.
“We’re not only going for an NLC championship, but we also have girls who are vying to be NLC finalists for the first time and score some points,” Erba said. “We have girls looking to see how they’ll seed up for sectionals and also girls looking to win all-conference honors. I want that badly for our girls that have worked hard for that. It’s something to say you’re all-conference, be it one year or multiple years in a row.”
On top of the meet being the NLC finale, as well as Senior Night for Warsaw, it also hosted a Unified Track and Field event.
This season, the IHSAA has partnered with Special Olympics Indiana, to allow member teams to form track and field teams comprised of special needs students.
Partnered with students from General Studies courses, special needs competitors from Warsaw, East Noble and Bremen competed in their own 100, 400, 4x100 relay, long jump and throwing events during the meet.
The meet was a regular schedule competition for the Unified teams, as they prepare for a sectional on May 30 and 31, with qualifiers then moving on to state.
Thanks to an opening in the schedule, the Unified teams were able to get on the track Tuesday, and Erba was glad they were able to participate.
“Talking with (Warsaw Community High School Athletic Director) Dave Anson, we had a point in our schedule where it just fit in perfectly with the smaller meet against Goshen, so it wasn’t a triangular meet,” Erba said. “To be able to fit them in perfectly, so they could run the 400 before our 4x800 (relay), so there’s people still here was awesome to see. It was nice to see our athletes cheering them on and just seeing the support all those athletes get is tremendous.”
4x800 Relay – 1. Warsaw (Charlene Orr, Madeline Hooks, Brooke Rhodes, Hannah Dawson) 10:02.44, 2. Goshen (Ashton Ellis, Jasmyn Brown, Nora Rangel, Adrienne Henke) 10:13.36; 100 Hurdles – 1. Jackie Ferguson (W) 17.06, 2. Marisela Salazar (G) 17.49, 3. Claire Hickerson (W) 17.52; 100 – 1. Mariah Harter (W) 13.17, 2. Tiayana Blair (W) 14.09, 3. Anna Decker (W) 14.18; 1600 – 1. Allison Miller (W) 5:22.30, 2. Anna Craig (W) 5:24.67, 3. Henke (G) 5:37.06; 4x100 Relay – 1. Warsaw (Harter, Samantha Alexander, Audrey Rich, Ann Harvuot) 50.00, 2. Goshen (Katie Mullet, Jennifer Bustos, Brittanie Gamez, Bree Yoder) 56.35; 400 – 1. Tennie Worrell (W) 1:04.08, 2. Haley Peterson (W) 1:06.16, 3. Bustos (G) 1:11.23; 300 Hurdles – 1. Nicole Eckert (W) 47.45, 2. Ferguson (W) 48.18, 3. Salazar (G) 53.02; 800 – 1. Hannah Dawson (W) 2:25.39, 2. Rhodes (W) 2:28.54, 3. Rangel (G) 2:31.07.
200 – 1. Rich (W) 26.55, 2. Alexander (W) 26.87, 3. Harter (W) 28.17; 3200 – 1. Emma Hayward (W) 12:17.19, 2. Ellis (G) 12:20.97, 3. Orr (W) 12:40.17; 4x400 Relay – 1. Warsaw (Eckert, Rich, Worrell, Ferguson) 4:17.67, 2. Goshen (Brown, Rangel, Bustos, Henke) 4:30.92; High Jump – 1. Maria Corbett (G) 5-4, 2. Kyrie Potter (G) 5-0, 3. Caroline Mayer (W) 4-6; Pole Vault – 1. Hickerson (W) 9-6, 2. Corbett (G) 8-6, 3. Jennifer Minier (G) 8-0; Long Jump – 1. Alexander (W) 16-6, 2. Courtney Farling (W) 14-8.5, 3. Corbett (G) 14-6.25; Discus – 1. Kaley Wood (G) 95-5.75, 2. Kristen Hanson (G) 94-7, 3. Denisse Rodriguez (G) 86-8.5; Shot Put – 1. Brooklyn Harrison (W) 34-10, 2. Rodriguez (G) 31-2, 3. Emily Bailey (W) 29-2.5.