By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsemail@example.com
Spring weather returned just in time on Saturday for the Havre Blue Ponies to earn a team sweep at the Chinook High School Track and Field Invitational held at the Havre Middle School track.
The Blue Pony boys team ran away from the field by scoring 105 team points. District 9C foe KG was a solid second with 92 points, while Chester finished in third with 72 points. The Blue Sky Eagles finished in eighth place with 22 points while the host Beeters finished in a tie for 12th.
The Blue Pony girls team captured its first team title of the season by edging out Class B power Malta, 97 points to 94. The host Sugarbeeters finished their own meet in solid fashion with 63 team points and a third-place tie with Cut Bank. Blue Sky managed a ninth-place finish while KG was 11th, followed by Harlem in 12th and Chester in 13th.
In all, both Havre head coach John Ita and Chinook head coach Paula Molyneaux were pleased with their teams' accomplishments on Saturday.
"I was really pleased with the way things went for both of our teams," Ita said. "Our boys team was a little banged up, but we got some key points when we needed them and our girls team was just a solid team effort. We got points from all over the place, and we had a couple of really standout performances that kind of sealed things."
Said Molyneaux: "Our girls team had a tremendous day. They performed well and it was a really solid team effort that helped us finish in third place. On the boys side, we had a couple of key athletes that were not there and overall our boys team is really young and inexperienced. That makes it tough to score points at a meet of this caliber."
The Beeter girls' third-place finish came just as Molyneaux said - from the entire team. Chinook's only first-place finish came in the 1,600-meter relay, where the Beeters edged out Havre with a time of 4 minutes, 24.10 seconds. Georgia Barber had a solid day in the sprints, finishing third in both the 200 and 400 meters. Chinook also got points from Kelsey Crampton as she finished fourth in the discus and fifth in the shot put. Brittany Buhmann scored a second in the shot put and the Beeters also got a big second place from Crystal Roseberry in the triple jump. Whitney Lybeck and Kayla Erskine finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the high jump to help pace the Beeters.
KG standout Kim Berg picked up right where she left off last season as she captured the javelin title with a throw of 123 feet. Berg also placed sixth in the shot put.
The Blue Sky Eagles got a solid meet from several competitors. Kile Patrick raced to a second-place finish in the 800 meters, and Lindsay Anderson and Kaila Warren finished third and fourth, respectively, in the 100-meter hurdles. Warren also finished sixth in the 400 meters.
But the day on the girls' side belonged to the Ponies. Havre got huge scoring performances from the likes of Alicia Overcast and Brooke Schwan. Overcast won the 300-meter hurdles and finished second in the 400-meter dash. She was also a part of Havre's successful relay teams on Saturday. Schwan also participated on Havre's relay squads as well as winning the high jump, finishing fourth in the triple jump and earning a sixth-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles.
"Brooke has just been real consistent for us so far this season," Ita said. "And we got a ton of points from Alicia Overcast. Those two really showed that they are going to score some points for us this season."
The Ponies also got a strong second-place finish from Kelsey Smith in the 200 meters as well as outstanding days from distance runners Kelsey Malsam, Emily Kostelecky and McKayla Patterson. Havre also got points from Smith and Sheri Winchell as they finished third and fourth in the pole vault competition. Kim Collins also provided a spark for the Havre team by finishing third in the discus.
In the boys meet, Havre virtually ran away from the field as expected. Steve Heberly captured the 100 and 200 meters as well as running on both the 4x100 and 4x400 winning relays. Scott Robinson made it a clean sweep for the Havre boys in the sprints by capturing the 400 meter title. Havre also got significant points from its distance runners. Kasey Barsotti finished second in the 3200 and fourth in the 1600, just behind teammate Jeff Sprinkle, who finished third in the 1600. The distances were a key area according to Ita.
"Kasey and Jeff ran really well on Saturday and those points were key," Ita said. "They are closing the gap on West NeVille from Malta, who is an outstanding distance runner."
In the field, the Ponies' Steven Harman captured the long jump title for the second straight week. In the triple jump, Curt Leeds and Justin Kegel finished fourth and fifth, respectively. In the high jump, Eric Vosen and Anthony Bonavita took fourth and sixth place, while Mark Benjamin and Joey Howland grabbed second and fifth place finishes in the pole vault.
The KG KouGars also had a phenomenal day and it caught the attention of Ita.
"The thing I was most impressed with was KG this weekend," Ita said. "Those kids are tremendous athletes and they score well for not having a large team."
The KouGars got outstanding performances from the likes of Casey Crites and Thomas Marshall. Crites captured the high jump comptetiton with a final leap of 6 feet 3 inches. He also finished second to Heberly in both the 100 and 200 meters and garnered fifth place honors in the long jump.
Meanwhile, Marhsall placed second in both the 110 and 300 meter hurdles and he captured a third place finish in the long jump. KG's throwers also performed well on Saturday. Letang Forest captured third place in the shot put finishing just behind Blue Sky's Roald Aageson. Jarred Gomke grabbed a fifth place finish in the shot put and Chase Rambo took fifth in the discus. The Chester Coyotes also got strong performances from their throwers including a win in the javelin by senior Travis VanDyke.
All of this weekend's participants will be back in Havre this week. KG will host the rescheduled Cal Wearly Invitational in Havre on Wednesday and Havre High will host the annual Lions Invitational on Saturday. All the action will once again take place at the Havre Middle School track.