By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsfirstname.lastname@example.org
Weather permitting, the Chinook High School Invitational Track Meet is scheduled for Saturday morning at the Havre Middle School track. However, with a last breath of winter weather returning to Havre this week and a not -so-optimistic forecast for Saturday, Chinook head coach and Athletic Director Paula Molyneaux said the fate of the meet is still up in the air.
"We are going to make a decision at noon on Friday," Molyneaux said. "But if it is cold and raining or snowing, I can't see the meet happening."
Molyneaux said that the colder conditions are a threat to the health of the athletes and that the injury factor has to be a top consideration.
"There is a lot of season left and I just can't see risking injury to these kids with so much much of the season still ahead of them," Molyneaux said.
If the weather cooperates and the meet goes on as planned, the Chinook Invitational will feature the host Beeters and the Havre Blue Ponies as well as Malta, KG, Poplar, Shelby, Valier, Cut Bank, Blue Sky, Chester, Conrad, Choteau, Harlem, Fort Benton and the girls team from Grass Range.
"This is a field we typically see the first three or four weeks of the season," Molyneaux said. "I think it is a very strong field and the competition level is very high. It will be very similar to what we had in Glasgow last weekend."
The Beeter teams are coming off of strong performances at last weekend's Scottie Invitational in Glasgow, and Molyneaux believes that both teams will be competitive throughout the regular season.
"Our girls team could be very strong if we get some consistency," Molyneaux said. "And the boys have a a good mix of experienced seniors as well as some very talented younger kids.
"Our problem is depth," Molyneaux added. "When you only have 14 boys out for the team, it makes it tough when we face schools like Havre and Cut Bank who have much higher numbers."
The Havre Blue Ponies will also be in action at home for the first time on Saturday..
The Ponies are coming off of a solid opening weekend of the 2003 season in Glasgow last Saturday. The Havre High boys team ran away with the team title at the Scottie Invitational, while the Blue Pony girls squad finished in second place. Yesterday's dual with the Great Falls High Bison was canceled, but despite the cold weather, Havre High head coach John Ita said his team will be ready to go on Saturday.
"I think the team is prepared to deal with this weather," Ita said. "Even when we can't practice outdoors, we have a lot we can work on inside in the way of technique and conditioning so we will be ready.
"And even if the weather stays bad like this during the week, we can go to the city pool and work our sprinters right in the water," Ita added.
The Chinook Invitational is scheduled to begin with field events at 10:00 a.m. and the running events at 10:30 a.m. at the Havre Middle School Track.