By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editoremail@example.com
In the world of cross country, there are two things that are completely beyond a coaches' control: sickness and weather.
Luckily for HHS cross country coach Kim Ray, it looks like neither of those should be factors for Saturday's Havre Invitational cross country meet.
With her team finally rid of a little flu bug and forecasts of sunshine, little wind and temperatures in the 70's, Ray fully expects a dominant performance from the Ponies.
"We know the course well, we don't have to travel, we should do better than just well," Ray said. "We want to win our own meet, but we also should have all five of our girls in the top 10."
It's not a total stretch for the Ponies to accomplish Ray's goals, in fact, if they run like they're capable of, it shouldn't be a problem.
"We're looking tougher with every race," Ray said. "Now we just have to stay healthy."
So far that's been difficult, with Ray and several of her runners getting hit by the flu at one time or the other.
But for the most part, Havre will be at full strength for the first time in a few weeks.
"I guess it will also depend on the weather," Ray said. "In Missoula, the weather is perfect. But it seems like the wind always blows here so that could make a difference with the times."
While the forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-70's, it doesn't say anything about the customary gusty winds.
"If it's nice, there should be some nice times," Ray said. "We know the course well enough. We should know where to turn and where to surge."
The course is somewhat demanding and winds through the MSU-Northern campus and surrounding area.
"Our course is pretty tough," Ray said. "It's mostly uphill with a couple tough hills. They are familiar with it because we were up there last week."
The Havre boys cross country club will also be competing at the Havre Invitational. After a solid showing in Missoula last weekend, the boys will be looking to capture the local meet.
Seniors Jeff Sprinkle and Kasey Barsotti have been the boys top competitors all season. Barsotti ran his best time of the year in Missoula while finishing 24th. Sprinkle was forced to drop out from the race because of illness, but according to coach Ron Watson, he should be ready for Saturday. Rounding out the boys club is Cody McLean, Marcus Campbell, Will Long, Jeff Hedstrom and Clay Nottingham.
There will be several races starting Saturday with the schedule as follows:
Havre Invitational schedule
10 a.m. - girls junior high race
10:30 a.m. - boys junior high race
11 a.m. - girls junior varsity race
11:40 a.m. - boys junior varsity race
12:20 p.m. - girls varsity race
1 p.m. - boys varsity race