Warsaw senior Seth Fouts releases the shot during Tuesday's Northern Lakes Conference Meet in Warsaw. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
Warsaw senior Seth Fouts releases the shot during Tuesday's Northern Lakes Conference Meet in Warsaw. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
The outcome of Tuesday’s Northern Lakes Conference Track and Field Championships at the Tigers Athletic Complex was anything but surprising.
Both the Warsaw boys and girls teams cruised to conference championships, the ninth-straight for the girls and fourth-consecutive title for the boys.
The Warsaw girls tallied 176 points, with second-place Plymouth scoring 112.5 and Elkhart Memorial putting up 100 for third place. The Wawasee Lady Warriors finished sixth with 62 points.
In the boys meet, the Tigers racked up 188 points, putting some distance between itself and second-place Wawasee, which scored 115.5.
“It was a dominating performance,” Warsaw boys coach Matt Thacker said. “To say we expected it sounds kind of arrogant, but to say we expected to come out and compete and do well, that’s always there for us.”
Dominating the conference for nearly a decade, Warsaw girls track and field coach Scott Erba could easily become bored with the titles, but tries to see them through the eyes of his athletes.
“It’s nice for me and the coaching staff, but for these girls, it’s their first, second, third or fourth – it’s about going out of their senior year on top,” he said. “In that way, they get to look at it in a much different way. That’s really special.”
One Lady Tiger wrapped up a very impressive NLC career, as senior Ann Harvuot doesn’t only have the four team titles, but also has six individual championships, as well as three relay titles.
The most impressive of her feats is winning four-straight 100-meter championships.
“There was a lot of pressure that I put on myself going into (the 100), because I really wanted to win four in a row,” she said. “I’m really proud of myself. It’s a big accomplishment for me.”
And Erba agreed.
“To win the same event four years in a row is very, very challenging to do,” he said. “For her to do that is a really big deal, and she should be very proud of that.”
Harvuot also had back-to-back 200-meter titles under her belt coming into the season, but back pains have forced her to quit that event for the rest of the year.
She commented that she had hoped to go for three-straight 200 titles, but was still able to find joy in the meet.
“It’s a little disappointing, but I guess being a four-time conference champion (in the 100) makes up for it,” she said.
Even without Harvuot in the 200, Warsaw still got the win, as sophomore Audrey Rich won in 26.23 seconds.
Harvuot also anchored her third-straight 4x100 relay, this time with junior Mariah Harter, sophomore Samantha Alexander and Rich, which won in 49.75, just 17-hundreths of a second off the meet record of 49.58, set by Warsaw’s 2006 relay.
The Lady Tigers’ 4x800 relay of sophomore Hannah Dawson, sophomore Brooke Rhodes, freshman Allison Miller and freshman Anna Craig also got a title, as did Miller (3200), Alexander (long jump) and senior Claire Hickerson (pole vault).
The Warsaw girls’ seven titles on the night were impressive, but their male counterparts were even better, claiming 11 championships.
Winning all three relays, including the 4x800 (senior Ismael Calderon, junior Nick Bergen, junior Daniel Messenger, senior Tyler Houvener), the 4x100 (senior Tanner Balazs, senior Tristan McClone, senior Gabe Furnivall, senior Michael Miller) and the 4x400 (sophomore Landon Perry, senior Ryan Goon, senior Chad Goon, Furnivall), the Warsaw boys spread the other eight titles among seven different athletes, as senior Ellis Coon was the only Tiger with multiple individual victories.
Returning from a foot injury that held him out of his junior track season, Coon reclaimed the 1600 title he won in 2012, by running it in 4:22.27 this year.
After using a strong kick down the stretch to win the 1600, he did the same in the 3200, making his move with three laps to go just as Northridge sophomore Conner Sandt attempted to sprint out to the lead.
Just as Sandt made his move, Coon put it into another gear, separating himself for the last three laps, defeating Sandt by five seconds.
“I was just waiting for someone to make a move,” Coon said. “I was content with where I was, because with championship-style racing, times don’t really matter. It’s all about the points you can get for your team. I just waited until someone made a move, then made my move.”
Being careful with the state-championship contender this season, Thacker was happy with the kick Coon showed and believes he’s at 100 percent as the postseason begins next Thursday in the Goshen Sectional.
“He definitely looks like he’s back to full health, and that’s good thing – at least for us,” Thacker said.
Like Coon, senior Stephen Kolbe captured another NLC title at high jump, his first since his freshman year, clearing 6-4, while senior Seth Fouts defended his 2013 shot put title with a distance of 57-5.
First-time champions for the boys were Miller (100), Furnivall (400), junior Rashaan Jackson (long jump) and junior Andrew Scheidt (discus).
Miller and Jackson are both in their first year on the track team, but relayed their natural-born athletic talents into NLC championships.
“Track’s one of those sports where you don’t have to learn plays and understand execution of a play,” Thacker said of the new talent that came out for the team this year, which also included Balazs and sophomore Riley Rhoades. “If you’re an athlete, you can probably do something in track and field. They’ve definitely been a big addition and helped us out.
“They really solidified some areas of concern going into the season,” he added.
Wawasee has been relying on a couple of seasoned athletes, in juniors Clayton Cook and J.J. Gilmer.
A year ago, both made it to the state meet, with Cook competing in the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles, while Gilmer placed fourth at the high jump.
Gilmer entered the meet as the defending champion in the high jump and long jump, but finished second to Kolbe at high jump and second to Jackson at long jump.
Cook fared a bit better, defending his 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles titles, while also winning the 200 and anchoring the second-place 4x100 relay.
Entering the meet with a blister on his foot, Cook found a way to overcome it for three titles.
“I think I pushed through,” he said. “The 200 would have been a little more smooth if I hadn’t had it.”
Without the blister, the meet record of 21.70, set by Errol White in 1965 and Troy Furnivall in 1982, may have been in danger, as Cook entered with a seed time of 21.76.
Hampered, Cook won the 200 in 22.64, but he was able to accomplish one of his goals of going undefeated in NLC action this year.
With the conference meet behind them, the Warsaw programs will now focus on sectional action, as the girls go for their eight-straight title Tuesday at home, and the boys will look for their fourth in a row on May 22 in Goshen.

NORTHERN LAKES CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Boys
Team Scores – 1. Warsaw 188, 2. Wawasee 115.5, 3. Goshen 92.5, 4. Northridge 81, 5. Elkhart Memorial 72.5, 6. NorthWood 61.5, 7. Concord 61.5, 8. Plymouth 57.5
(Top 3, Local Scorers)
4x800 Relay – 1. Warsaw (Ismael Calderon, Nick Bergen, Daniel Messenger, Tyler Houvener) 8:08.39, 2. Northridge (Conner Sandt, Jailyn Rolle, Nolan Rhodes, Neel Patel) 8:18.50, 6. Wawasee (Jaxon Bame, Stori Bright, Austin Yoder, Adam Baker) 8:50.12; 100 Hurdles – 1. Clayton Cook (Waw) 14.79, 2. Steven Johnson (EM) 15.82, 3. Austin Healey (Nr) 15.87, 5. Dylan Campbell (War) 16.49; 100 – 1. Michael Miller (War) 11.19, 2. Michael Hartman (P) 11.33, 3. Jerrell Pointdexter (C) 11.60, 6. Tanner Balazs (War) 11.69, 8. Tyler Courter (Waw) 11.77; 1600 – 1. Ellis Coon (War) 4:22.27, 2. Blake Kramer (EM) 4:25.23, 3. Zach Cockrill (Waw) 4:26.53, 4. Adam Doll (Waw) 4:32.25; 4x100 Relay – 1. Warsaw (Balazs, Tristan McClone, Gabe Furnivall, Miller) 43.13, 2. Wawasee (Michael Pena, Courter, J.J. Gilmer, Clayton Cook) 43.50; 400 – 1. Furnivall (War) 50.45, 2. Hartman (P) 50.45, 3. Darnell Bean (C) 51.45, 5. Riley Rhoades (War) 51.96; 300 Hurdles – 1. Cook (Waw) 41.35, 2. Campbell (War) 41.59, 3. Ross Armey (War) 42.04; 800 – 1. Kramer (EM) 1:57.89, 2. Cockrill (Waw) 1:59.65, 3. Nick Skwarcan (NW) 2:00.63, 5. Houvener (War) 2:02.49, 9. Bame (Waw) 2:08.32.
200 – 1. Cook (Waw) 22.64, 2. McClone (War) 23.16, 3. Storm Stapleton (War) 23.35, 8. Courter (Waw) 24.23; 3200 – 1. Coon (War) 9:45.99, 2. Sandt (Nr) 9:50.66, 3. Gerardo Abad (G) 9:56.47, 5. Doll (Waw) 10:10.32, 6. Owen Glogovsky (War) 10:11.72; 4x400 Relay – 1. Warsaw (Landon Perry, Ryan Goon, Chad Goon, Furnivall) 3:25.84; High Jump – 1. Stephen Kolbe (War) 6-4, 2. Gilmer (Waw) 6-4, 3. Bennett Parker (NW) 6-0, 4. Brock Riley (War) 5-10; Long Jump – 1. Rashaan Jackson (War) 20-5.25, 2. Gilmer (Waw) 20-4, 3. Ramon Johnson (C) 19-10, 6. Caleb Ray (War) 18.8.75, 9. Jake Hutchinson (Waw) 18-3.75; Discus – 1. Andrew Scheidt (War) 140-10, 2. Seth Fouts (War) 137-5, 3. Ethan Brown (Waw) 137-2, 4. Jon Walker (Waw) 130-7; Shot Put – 1. Fouts (War) 57-5, 2. Michael Fickert (Nr) 53-2.5, 3. Bryce Banghart (EM) 46-10.5, 8. Ben Plummer (War) 44-9, 9. Walker (Waw) 42-6; Pole Vault – 1. Jacob Isnogle (G) 12-0, 2. David Welker (Nr) 11-6, 3. Kevin Carpenter (Waw) 11-6, 4. Jake Fayed (War) 11-0, 8. Joshua Tucco (Waw) 9-6.
All-NLC Honorable Mention –

Girls
Team Scores – 1. Warsaw 176, 2. Plymouth 112.5, 3. Elkhart Memorial 100, 4. Goshen 91.5, 5. Concord 86, 6. Wawasee 62, 7. Northridge 58.5, 8. NorthWood 43.5
(Top 3, Local Scorers)
4x800 Relay – 1. Warsaw (Hannah Dawson, Brooke Rhodes, Allison Miller, Anna Craig) 9:42.38, 2, Plymouth (Libby Read, Rachel Crawford, Abby Patrick, Allie Wright) 9:43.72, 7. Wawasee (Delanie Bame, Madison Miller, Abby Mejia, Molly Swartz) 10:52.91; 100 Hurdles – 1. Jessica O’Connell (C) 15.52, 2. Jackie Ferguson (War) 16.22, 3. Cianna Bonfiglio (C) 16.90, 6. Shelby Swartz (Waw) 17.61, 7. Claire Hickerson (War) 18.08; 100 – 1. Ann Harvuot (War) 12.70, 2. Mariah Harter (War) 12.85, 3. Mariah DeFreese (C) 13.31, 5. Catherine Yankosky (Waw) 13.47; 1600 – 1. Sierra Moore (EM) 5:14.15, 2. Ashton Ellis (G) 5:32.48, 3. Haley Lehman (EM) 5:33.53, 7. Anna Craig (War) 5:39.92, 8. Brooke Rhodes (War) 5:40.27; 4x100 Relay – 1. Warsaw (Harter, Samantha Alexander, Audrey Rich, Harvuot) 49.75, 2. Concord (DeFreese, Michelle Detwiler, Bonfiglio, O’Connell) 51.14, 4. Wawasee (Leigh-Ann Shrack, Skylar Janda, Sarah Lancaster, Yankosky) 53.26; 400 – 1. Read (P) 1:01.51, 2. Tennie Worrell (War) 1:01.99, 3. Abby Adams (NW) 1:03.05, 5. Alethia Burritt (War) 1:04.15; 300 Hurdles – 1. O’Connell (C) 46.05, 2. Nicole Eckert (War) 47.85, 3. Ferguson (War) 48.49; 800 – 1. Moore (EM) 2:19.06, 2. Wright (P) 2:19.62, 3. Dawson (War) 2:26.44, 9. Claire Kehler (War) 2:35.04.
200 – 1. Rich (War) 26.23, 2. DeFreese (C) 27.31, 3. Alexander (War) 27.80, 4. Yankosky (Waw) 28.12, 5. Janda (Waw) 29.09; 3200 – 1. Miller (War) 11:50.02, 2. Ellis (G) 12:09.39, 3. Emma Hayward (War) 12:10.63, 8. Courtney Linnemeier (Waw) 12:30.94; 4x400 Relay – 1. Plymouth (Read, Rachel Crawford, Kaydon Fosler, Wright) 4:07.14, 2. Warsaw (Eckert, Ferguson, Rhodes, Worrell) 4:07.37, 8. Wawasee (Shrack, Lancaster, M. Swartz, Bridgette Yoder) 4:33.39; High Jump – 1. Maria Corbett (G) 5-2, 2. Fosler (P) 5-1, 3. Skylar Axsom (EM) 5-0, 9. Courtney Farling (War) 4-8; Long Jump – 1. Alexander (War) 16-2.5, 2. Detwiler (C) 15-.5, 3. Fosler (P) 15-3.75, 4. Farling (War) 15-2, 7. Ruby Minnick (Waw) 14-8.25; Discus – 1. Kristen Hanson (G) 103-1, 2. Hannah Winters (Waw) 101-10, 3. Kim Swank (Nr) 98-5, 5. Alexis Manges (Waw) 96-1; Shot Put – 1. Deanna Cornelius (EM) 39-11.75, 2. Brooklyn Harrison (War) 36-9.75, 3. Kassandra Rodriguez (G) 34-10.25, 4. Katlyn Kennedy (Waw) 33-10.5, 9. Emily Bailey (War) 31-2; Pole Vault – 1. Hickerson (War) 9-4, 2. Shannon Winslow (War) 9-0, 3. Taylor Busse (Waw) 9-0.