By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sports/ email@example.com
If there were such a thing as an all-star meet in high school track and field, then tonight would be it for Havre High athletes. A select group of Blue Pony boys and girls track athletes will head to Glasgow for the Eastern Montana Top 10 track meet at the Glasgow High School track.
The annual meet will feature athletes in Class A from Sidney to Havre, as well as from some of the southeastern portion of the state. Other Top 10 meets will be conducted simultaneously tonight in Billings and Missoula as well as smaller venues across Montana.
Although the Top Ten meet features 10 competitors in each event and is considered a chance to showcase Class A talent, Havre High head coach John Ita will be taking all precautions tonight in Glasgow.
"This meet is a great idea because it gives athletes an opportunity to go head-to-head with the best of the best in a given event," Ita said. "But the timing of it and the conditions have never been too favorable.
"We have to worry about the fact that the weather is usually not very good and it is at night in Glasgow," Ita added. "We aren't going to take any chances with our kids down there. If we can't get somebody warmed up or they just aren't feeling ready, we will probably hold that athlete out because this meet comes so close to the divisional and state meets."
The Havre Blue Ponies, who have already been competing against top level competition the past three weeks, qualified 12 boys for the annual event, as well as both of their relay teams, but Ita is only bringing 10 boys to Glasgow tonight.
"We have a good number of boys who qualified for this event and that says a lot about our team this season," Ita said. "But we won't have Justin Kegel or Jeff Sprinkle, so we're going with 10 boys."
Steve Heberly comes in with the fastest times in both the 100 and 200 meters in the state this season. He will also compete on both of Havre's relay teams. Steven Harman will come to Glasgow having won the long jump in every non-AA event that he has entered. Harman also qualified for tonight's 100 meters as well as the short relay.
Scott Robinson will go in both the 200 and 400 meters, and like Heberly, he also runs both relays for the Ponies. Joey Howland and Mark Benjamin will compete in the pole vault. Howland is also a member of Havre's short relay team.
Havre qualified Kasey Barsotti for the 1,600 and Evan Olson in the 800 as well. Curt Leeds will go in the triple jump and the long relay, while Anthony Bonavita qualified for the high jump. Eric Vosen also qualified for tonight's meet in the high jump and he will also run the long relay for the Ponies.
"The amazing thing to me is how many multiple qualifiers we have in the boys events," Ita said. "We have a lot of kids who made it in more than one event, and that says a lot about the consistency of our team right now."
The Havre High girls team will also bring a strong contingent of athletes to Glasgow tonight. The Pony girls have nine competitors in the meet led by Kelsey Smith, who qualified for the 100 and 200 meters as well as the pole vault. Smith also runs the short relay for the Ponies.
Rylee O'Connell also comes into tonight's meet as a multiple qualifier. O'Connell will run the 100 and 200 meters as well as the short relay. Alicia Overcast will run the 400 and 800 meters as well as the 300 meter hurdles. Overcast is also part of both Havre relay teams.
Brooke Schwan will also enter three events for Havre. Schwan qualified for the 100 meter hurdles, high jump and the triple jump. She is also part of the short relay team as well. Sherry Winchell will join Schwan in the triple jump and she is part of the Havre High long relay team. The Ponies are also well represented in the distance runs as well.
Andee Peterson is entered in the 800 meters and the long relay, and both Kelsey Malsam and Mandy Nystrom will run the 1,600 meters. Rounding out the Pony team will be Casey Pollington in the high jump and Alexa Lipp as the fourth member of the long relay team.
"I like how our girls team has competed as of late," Ita said. "The girls have had a lot of consistency. I think that shows with how many athletes we qualified for this meet.
"And we have a lot of girls who have qualified for more than one event, which means that these girls have really blossomed lately," Ita added.
Tonight's Top 10 meet is scheduled to get underway at 6:30 p.m. at the Glasgow High School track in Glasgow. The full Havre High varsity team will also be back in action on Saturday in Lewistown.