By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editoremail@example.com
The Havre High cross country teams put together some fantastic performances during Saturday's Havre Invitational, but head coach Kim Ray wishes she just could have seen more of them.
While Ray was running around from place to place to try and keep the meet running smoothly, her girls team captured the team title for the second straight year, while the HHS boys finished a respectable fifth.
"Overall, I was very pleased with how things went," Ray said. "It's hard to say much about how they ran because I didn't see much. But we ran some great times for how tough our course is."
Indeed, the winding course in front of Montana State University-Northern's Cowan Hall has steep hills and some tough climbs.
However, the course played right into Havre's hands, or feet in this case. The HHS girls ran away with the team title with a dominant showing.
Havre placed all seven of its runners in the top 25 runners, including five in the top 15.
"The girls ran an awesome race," Ray said.
McKayla Patterson led the Ponies with a fourth place finish and a time of 20:06.0.
"McKayla ran fantastic," Ray said. "She ran very loose and relaxed. From the little bit I saw, she looked really comfortable out there. She ran a great time for our course."
Teammate Amy McLain finished eight with a 20:28.1. Havre had a log jam of runners come in just a little after McLain, as Darci Briere (20:55.8), Mandi Nystrom (20:59.9) and Becca Hilliard (21:00.8) came in 10th, 11th and 12th respectively.
Havre's final two runners also finished strong as Christina Armstrong finished in 16th with a 21:12.4, while Kelsey Malsam came in 21st with a time of 21:40.8.
"Really, I am mainly concerned how we did in comparison to Browning and Lewistown," Ray said. "And we had all seven of our runners in before either team had their second runners in. We had a pack time of 54 seconds which is pretty darn good."
There were other minor victories for the girls. Patterson beat Lewistown's Sonya Rogers, one of the better runners in Class A, for the first time this season, which should give the Ponies added confidence.
"That's a big pick-me-up for our team," Ray said. "We know that we have someone that can go out and run her down."
Janelle Williamson of Wetaskiwin High School in Alberta won her second-straight individual title with a blazing time of 19:09.6.
"That's the fastest time a girl has ever run on this course," Ray said. "I was kidding around with her, asking if she wanted to transfer here."
Ray was pretty pleased with her girls team's performance this late in the season.
"The girls ran an awesome race," Ray said. "They were very focused. It's always nice to win your home meet, I know it's something they wanted to do."
Although the Havre boys may not have captured the team title, they did have a strong showing, finishing fifth behind very tough teams from Moose Jaw, Sask., Browning, Westaskiwin and Cut Bank.
"The boys race was tough," Ray said. "I thought our boys ran very well against some good competition."
Havre was led by Marcus Campbell, who finished 11th with a time of 17:47.7. Teammates Tyler Crossley and Kyle Baltrusch also finished in the top 20. Crossley came in 16th with a time of 18:12.0, while Baltrusch was 19th with an 18:25.0.
"We've been finishing in that order for our boys team all season," Ray said. "Marcus ran a nice race. It's a good time for our course."
Havre's other qualifying runners were Jeff Hedstrom, who came in 31st with an 18:52.0, and Justin McLeod, who finished in 35th with a 19:08.2.
"Tyler and Kyle did a nice job of running together and Jeff and Justin ran pretty close together," Ray said. "What we need is Jeff and Justin to pick it up and run a little closer to Kyle. That's what they need to work on this week, which is no matter what they're doing, they need to stay close to Kyle."
Havre's remaining two runners, Mike Welch (19:20.1) and Jacob Verploegen (19:28.6), came in 39th and 44th, respectively.
In the junior varsity races, the Havre girls made it a clean sweep, taking the JV girls title in dominant fashion. Havre placed five runners in the top 10, led by Danika Patterson, who edged teammate Kristine Keltgen by one second, for medalist honors. Patterson ran a solid 22:00.6, while Keltgen ran a 22:21.6. Emily Kostelecky finished third with a 22:34.4. The Ponies' also got strong showings from Jaleesa Barthel, who was seventh with a 23:32.7 and Kim Jestrab, who was eighth with a 23:34.9.
"Danika ran one of her best races this season," Ray said. "She looked very strong. The top three runners really kind of hung together the whole race."
Besides her placing runners, Ray was happy for all of her junior varsity runners, who got the opportunity to run at a home meet. The added incentive produced some personal bests.
"Mara Malsam had the biggest improvement of more than two minutes," Ray said. "Chelsea Small and Meredith Hanson also had very good races and showed a lot of improvement."
In the boys races, Havre didn't furnish a full boys team, with only three runners competing. But the three runners placed in the top 25, led by Seth Hinckley's seventh place finish with a time of 19:43.5. Michael Morelli finished in 14th with a time of 20:22.6, while Clay Nottingham was 25th with a 22:08.8.
"Everything worked out OK for the meet as a whole," Ray said. "We had perfect weather and probably the most spectators we've ever had at this race."
With the Central A Divisional looming in two weeks, Havre will get a chance to run the divisional course at the East Glacier Golf Course this weekend in the Browning Invitational. Ray is hoping her runners use the meet as a learning experience.
"We've never run the course before," Ray said. "We're using it as a preview for divisionals. They need to learn the course and get familiar with the layout so at divisionals we know where the places we can shave seconds off are at."
The HHS boys lineup will remain the same. The girls lineup will have one change with Keltgen replacing Briere, who is fighting injuries.
The girls varsity/JV race will start at 12:30 p.m., while the boys varsity/JV race will start at 1 p.m.
1. Havre 15, 2. Lewistown 47, 3. Browning 81
1. Danika Patterson, HHS 22:00.6; 2. Kristine Keltgen, HHS 22:21.6; 3. Emily Kostelecky, HHS 22:34.4; 4. Rhonda Battaplia, Wetaskiwin 23:22.3; 5. Stephanie Hildebrand, Wetaskiwin 23:26.1; 6. Kristen Wiebe, Moose Jaw 23:31.7; 7. Jaleesa Barthel, HHS 23:31.7; 8. Kim Jestrab, HHS 23:34.3; 9. Amanda Babcock, Cut Bank 23:44.2; 10. Shyla Wesley, GLA 23:49.3.
Other Havre Finishers: 12. Meredith Hanson 24:04.9; 17. Chelsea Small 24:54.6; 18. Chloe Kinna 24:55.3; 23. Becca Stone 25:56.3; 24. Sara Lippy 26:04.3; 29. Jessica Obrecht 26:46.8; 30. Patricia Toldness 26:49.3; 32. Megan Toldness 26:56.9; 36. Mara Malsam 28:13.
1. Browning; 2. Cut Bank
1. Isaiah Webber, BRO 17:34.1; 2. Dylan DesRosier, BRO 18:22.4; 3. Jordan Long Time Sleep, BRO 19:02.1; 4. Chris Burdea, BRO 19:18.1; 5. Andrew Whiteman, BRO 19:23.8; 6. Bryan Morgan, BRO 19:24.1; 7. Seth Hinckley, HHS 19:43.5; 8. Josh Juarez, BRO 19:47.2; 9. Ricky Cline, Cut Bank 19:47.2; 10. Neal Doore, BRO 20:00.2.
Other Havre Finishers: 14. Michael Morelli 20:22.6; 25. Clay Nottingham 22:08.8
1. Havre 27, 2. Cut Bank 58, 3. Glasgow 74, 4. Lewistown 96, 5. Browning 133, 6. Harlem 175, 7. Dodson/Whitewater 201.
1. Janelle Williamson, Wetaskiwin, 19:09.6; 2. Jayme Larson, Gla, 19:54.0; 3. Kailey Smith, Moose Jaw, 19:56.5; 4. McKayla Patterson, HHS, 20:06.0; 5. Sonya Rogers, LEW, 20:10.9; 6. Samantha Rogers, Moose Jaw, 20:14.8; 7. Nadine Mann, Cascade, 20:21.7; 8. Amy McLain, HHS, 20:28.1; 9. Della Tromblee, CB, 20:37.2; 10. Darci Briere, HHS, 20:55.8; 11. Mandi Nystrom, HHS 20:59.9; 12. Becca Hilliard, HHS 21:00.8; 13. Marles Moore, SHE 21:08.4; 14. Emily Babcock, CB 21:09.4; 15. Jordan Kennedy, CB 21:09.7.
Other Havre finishers: 16. Christina Armstrong 21:12.4; 21. Kelsey Malsam 21:40.8;
1. Moose Jaw 62, 2. Browning 63, 3. Wetaskiwin 64, 4. Cut Bank 72, 5. Havre 108, 6. Glasgow 175, 7. Dodson/Whitewater 185, 8. Wolf Point 225, 9. Shelby 233, 10. Harlem 260, 11. Centerville 269.
1. Josh Chow, Moose Jaw, 16:30.7; 2. Jaden Ostapowitch, Wetaskiwin, 16:56.6; 3. Nathen Sporber, Wetaskiwin, 17:07.4; 4. Andrew Gilham, CB, 17:13.9; 5. Javin Sissons, Wetaskiwin, 17:14.1; 6. Ben Jacobsen, CB, 17:29.1; 7. George Madman, BRO, 17:36.9; 8. Andrew Cassidy, Moose Jaw, 17:40.9; 9. Edwin Cree Medicine, BRO, 17:44.2; 10. Ron Ingraham, BRO, 17:47.7; 11. Marcus Campbell, HHS 17:47.7; 12. Wacey Mountain Chief, HB 17:55.7; 13. Matthew Bullchild, BRO 18:00.9; 14. Lee Leendorf, WP 17:55.7; 15. Byron Meeks, CB 18:10.6.
Other Havre finishers: 16. Tyler Crossley 18:12.0; 19. Kyle Baltrusch 18:25.0; 31. Jeff Hedstrom 18:52.0; 35. Justin McLeod 19:08.2; 39. Mike Welch 19:20.1; 44. Jacob Verploegen 19:28.6.