WARSAW TRACK: TIGERS KEEP ROLLING, STARS ALIGNING
StaceyPageOnline / Sports on Wednesday, April 25, 2018
WARSAW – A track meet that saw Warsaw win by 75 over Wawasee and 86 over NorthWood actually had a lot of components that will likely come into play in less than two weeks.
While the scores of the Northern Lakes Conference girls track duals had Warsaw beat Wawasee 101-26 and NorthWood 109-23, there was plenty of star power among the rosters that will line up against one another in a couple weeks with much bigger things at stake. NorthWood took the third scoreline over Wawasee, 73-59.
Among the event showdowns presented a trio of NorthWood stars and a trio from Wawasee, testing their mettle against the big guns from Warsaw. All three from NorthWood were in the winner’s column in some form, while Wawasee’s took one.
Panther Kenzie Moren showed she is likely the one to catch in the sprint events at the NLC Championships in two weeks after bolting to wins in both the 100 and 200 dashes. Moren went 12.76 in the 100 and 26.77 in the 200, both coming in impressive breakaway fashion. Moren also anchored the 4×100 relay to a 54.48 win, although Warsaw dropped its baton on the first exchange and was disqualified.
Riley Hershberger was one of the 4×100 legs, but is known for her hurdles. Still on the mend from a knee injury suffered last year, Hershberger wasn’t a factor in the 300 hurdles, taking fifth at 51.66, well behind Warsaw winner Michaela Buriff’s 49.72 and Wawasee’s runner-up Hannah-Marie Lamle’s 50.16. But the progress was made, along with that of Erica Stutsman and her mending leg that she injured over Christmas break, where Stutsman won the 400 at 1:01.47 and was third in her signature – the 800 – going 2:28.35 to Warsaw’s Emma Bohnenkamper’s 2:26.49 and Mia Beckham’s 2:26.55.
“It was great competition tonight, from both Warsaw and Wawasee,” started NorthWood head coach Mark Mikel. “They pushed us in every event. I really didn’t know what to expect from a lot of the girls, this is only our third meet of the year. So we scaled back a little for Hershberger, but we really loaded up for Stutsman to give her a full meet’s worth of work. A lot of our freshmen still haven’t been thrown in the fire for the most part. We would like to see what all they have, but we are running out of time.”
The aforementioned Lamle took the 100 hurdles at 16.82, racing past both Buriff and Tiger Sadie Lemon. Hershberger did not compete in the event to rest up her knee for the 300 hurdles. Wawasee also took a surprise win in the 4×800 relay, with Bailey Mayhew, Kenzie Smith, Ella Beezley and Nadia Palacios going 10:33.85 to beat Warsaw’s lineup by three seconds.
“I thought across the board we had a really good meet, a lot of PRs across the board,” said Wawasee head coach Doug Slabaugh. “I thought on the track we had a great day, some really good stuff. The four-by-eight gets a win. I know Warsaw didn’t run their top four, and that’s fine, but we still had to beat them and beat the NorthWood group that barely missed going to state.”
Warsaw was able to outdo Wawasee’s field stars head’s up. The duo of Lanae Dawson and Passion Gardner claimed both throws, Dawson a 102-02 in discus to beat Sara Pritchard by three inches, and Gardner surprised everyone with her third toss in shot put landing at 34-09.5, beating Dawson by five inches and Pritchard by over two feet.
Pole vault also went to Warsaw, with Caitlin Kehler outdoing Wawasee’s Jada Parzygnot in a big way, Kehler at 10-4 while Parzygnot came up well short at 8-6. Kendall Menzie added a 15-8.25 winner in long jump, besting Lamle’s best go of 15-6.5. Alexie Day made it a clean field sweep for the Lady Tigers with a clearance of 5-4 in high jump, the Tigers taking the top four spots.
Warsaw added track wins from Adree Beckham in the 1600 (5:32.06), Taylor Gunter in the 3200 (12:34.62) and the 4×400 at 4:17.28.
“Buriff came up to me after the 300, where she PRed, and she said ‘Coach, every time I get up to that line, (Hershberger) beats me. Today, I wanted it, and I finally got her.’ To see that as a coach, we know we are going to get that competition in the conference and we know we have to give it 100 percent every time. We’re not just going to be able to walk in and take things. To see the girls have the attitude that they want it and they want to work for it, that’s exciting.”
Warsaw (6-0) will look to lock up another undefeated NLC dual season Tuesday when it hosts Plymouth. NorthWood (1-3) will visit Northridge Saturday in a make-up meet then travel to Goshen Tuesday for a double dual with the RedHawks and Concord. Wawasee (0-5) will host Memorial and Northridge Tuesday afternoon.