Austin and Erba win Indiana Runner June Athlete of the Month Awards!
Gary Austin – Sr. – Pike High School
By: Drake Sterling
Austin capped off a fantastic season with a month of June that ended right on schedule, earning him some huge wins in the post-season.
On June 2nd, Austin rolled into the IHSAA State Finals as the co-favorite for the 800 meter victory. The task would not be a light one, however, as he chose to help his 4×800 meter relay team to an attempt at a State Championship in the first event of the meet.
The Pike 4×800 team ultimately did not perform as they would have liked, finishing 18th, and Austin was left relatively fresh heading into the open 800. He ran a smart race, hanging around 4th for the majority of the first 600. At 600 meters, Warsaw’s Spencer Rheinhardt shot out 7-10 meters ahead of the pack. With 150 meters to go, Austin responded, making his own explosive charge to catch Rheinhardt. As the two came down the front stretch, it was a dead heat and Austin was finally able to over take the struggling Rheinhardt with less than 20 meters to go. Austin would go on to win in 1:52.17 to Rheinhardt’s 1:52.32. A great video of the race can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPtRI44kmSQ.
The time was good enough to put Austin 19th on the the All-Time State Best 800 meter list. The race also broke Pike’s school record for 800 meters.
In addition to the 4×800 and 800, Austin also ran a leg on Pike’s 13th place 4×400 meter relay team at the State Meet.
Austin wasn’t done yet. The Pike senior chose to represent Team Indiana in the annual Midwest Meet of Champions. The meet featured to the top Seniors from Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. Austin dominated the 800 meter competition, winning by nearly 1.5 seconds, running 1:52.78 in the process.
Congrats Gary on the spectacular season and good luck on the next level!
Ashley Erba – Jr. – Warsaw High School
Ashley Erba had easily one of the most successful season’s ever by an Indiana High School Girl. June was particularly memorable for Erba, as she vaulted herself from Indiana’s elite, to the Nation’s best!
While Erba was the favorite to win the 3200 at the State Meet, there were some who considered North Central’s Brenna Poulsen and Northridge’s Corinne Cominator as serious contenders to knock her off.
Poulsen was the only runner gutsy enough to go with Erba through the middle portions of the race. Erba set a hot pace during the first mile and never looked back. En route to her first Track and Field State Championship, Erba would clock a 3200 personal best of 10:24.94. The time would put Erba fifth on the All Time State Best 3200 list, and among some very good company as well.
As if the State Championship wasn’t enough, Erba set her sights on the National scene, dedicating herself to the 5,000 meters at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Erba broke through mid race in the 5,000 and ran away from some of the best runners in the nation. Erba would ultimately clock a time of 16:18.21 for the 5,000 meter race. That time set a meet record and was good enough for the seventh best time ever run by a high school girl. She would win the race by 25 seconds.
Congrats to Ashley for an amazing full year of racing and we look forward to covering her accomplishments for one more year!