By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsemail@example.com
It was a weekend that Havre High School track and field head coach John Ita can only classify as a success.
On Friday, the Pony boys team competed in the Swede Dahlberg Memorial Invitational in Butte and made it through a horrible weather day without injury. And on Saturday, the HHS girls showed the Class AA ranks that they can hang with them at the Optimist Invitational in Great Falls.
"This was a really good weekend for us all the way around," Ita said. "The boys team made it through a really tough day weather-wise in Butte and they competed as well as they could. And the girls performed really well in Great Falls. We had girls set personal records all over the place on Saturday."
On Friday, the weather took a nasty turn for the worse in southern Montana as the prestigious Swede Dahlberg Memorial was set to get under way, athletes were greeted with a dose of spring snow.
However, the meet did go on as planned and the Pony boys clawed their way to an eighth-place finish, scoring 32 total points. Kalispell ran away with the team title with a 110. 5 points while Helena High was a distant second at 84 points.
Facing his stiffest competition of the season, Havre High star sprinter Steve Heberly captured another pair of victories in the 100 and 200. Heberly dominated the 100 even with a time of 11.34, and in the 200 Heberly barely edged out Bozeman's Ty Norris with a time of 22.25.
Scott Robinson also performed well for the Ponies with a third place finish in the 400 meters and sixth in the 200. Havre also got points from Jeff Sprinkle, who finished fifth in the 800. Anthony Bonavita grabbed a sixth place finish in the long jump, and Justin Kegel was sixth in the triple jump.
"Steve Heberly and Scott Robinson performed really well underneath tough conditions," Ita said. "And Jeff Sprinkle ran a really strong race in the 800 against really tough competition."
"The tough thing was just getting everybody warmed up and in some places we couldn't do it," Ita added. "We couldn't let Steven Harman go in the long jump because he just couldn't get loose. But the kids performed well and it ended up being one of those days that we were glad to get through without any injuries."
On Saturday, the Havre High girls team raced to an 11th-place finish at the highly competitive Optimist Invitational in Great Falls. Despite only scoring 12 total points, Ita was very pleased with how his girls competed.
"Saturday was a great day for our girls team," Ita said. "They stepped up and really performed well against some of the best competition they will ever see. This weekend was great preparation for divisionals and state and we took a lot away from Saturday."
While points were few and far between for the Pony girls, they did got solid individual performances from the likes of Alicia Overcast and Brooke Schwan. Overcast finished in sixth place in both the 400 meters and the 300 meter hurdles. Meanwhile, Schwan grabbed a fifth-place finish in the high jump and an eighth-place finish in the 110 meter hurdles. Kelsey Smith also had a personal best pole vault of 9 feet even. That final vault got Smith an eighth-place finish.
"Kelsey Smith had a great day personally," Ita said. "And other girls also really stepped up and competed really well.
"The best thing about Saturday is that the coaches really got a chance to sit back and evaluate our team," Ita added. "The girls performed really well and showed that they can compete among really strong competition."
Next up for Havre will be another split weekend. Some competitors will travel to the always competitive Whitefish Invitational on Saturday, while others will be in Cut Bank for the Cut Bank Invitational. Havre was also set to dual CMR here on Tuesday, but that meet has been canceled by C.M. Russell High School.