By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editorfirstname.lastname@example.org
If it wasn't for the weather, Saturday would have been nearly perfect for the Havre High cross country teams at the East Glacier Lodge golf course.
The Pony girls continued their run of meet wins, taking home the team title at the Browning Invitational. The Ponies scored 27 team points in handily defeating second-place finisher Cut Bank by almost 20 points.
The HHS boys also had their best showing of the year. They grabbed third place behind first-place Browning and runner-up Cut Bank.
"The wind was blowing very hard, and during the boys' race it started to rain," said head coach Kim Ray. "The conditions weren't exactly ideal to run a season personal record."
Still, the Ponies ran some solid races.
For the girls, McKayla Patterson finished second to Cut Bank's Della Tromblee with a time of 20:00.
"McKayla led most of the race, breaking the wind for (Tromblee)," Ray said. "She worked really hard, but ended up second."
Teammate Amy McLain finished third with a time of 20:32. Senior Becca Hilliard had her best placing of the season, finishing fifth with a time of 21:13. Havre's remaining two scored runners finished in the top 10. Mandy Nystrom was seventh with a 21:26, while Kelsey Malsam was 10th with a 21:37.
"Our times were not where we wanted them, but the wind was a big factor," Ray said. "Place-wise, we were exactly where we wanted to be."
While the girls battled wind, the boys also had to run through a nice spate of rain. Yet, the HHS boys persevered with their best team showing of the season.
"I was very pleased with how the boys did," Ray said. "We finished third, and we beat Shelby for the first time this season."
Havre was paced by the duo of Marcus Campbell and Tyler Crossley. Campbell, who's been the Ponies' leading runner all season, finished in 12th place with a time of 17:41. Crossley ran one of his best races of the season, finishing in 14th with a time of 17:47.
"Tyler did a great job of closing the gap," Ray said. "Our first and second runner were only six seconds apart, which is good. We just need everyone else to do the same."
Jeff Hedstrom finished 27th with an 18:56, while Justin McLeod was 29th with an 18:57. Seth Hinckley was the Ponies' fifth qualifying runner in 31st with a time of 19:02.
Although the weather was far from cooperative, the meet was a good opportunity for Havre, since it will be back at the same course this weekend for the Central A Divisional.
"What we want for divisional is to see improvement in our times," Ray said. "We want to bring a trophy home. This is the first year for the boys to be affiliated with the school. It would be nice for them to receive a trophy."
Having had her teams run the course, Ray believes there should be some improvement.
"Since we have already been on the course, we know that it is a 1.5 mile loop that they run two times," Ray said. "The course is fairly flat. The middle of the race is where we broke down and lost focus. We need to really focus on mile no. 2."
Havre will see some solid competition on both sides. For the boys, Browning is the prohibitive favorite, with Belgrade, Butte Central and Livingston all competing.
On the girls side, Havre is the overwhelming favorite. However, Lewistown does have a very solid squad.
"Fergus will give us the most team competition and individually," Ray said. "Sonya Rogers has been running very well for them. Each team has one or two good runners, and they should challenge us to push ourselves."
The Central A Divisional will start at 11 a.m. with the junior varsity boys race. The girls JV race is at 11:30 a.m. the varsity boys race will start at noon, while the girls race will begin at 12:30 p.m.
Havre 27, Cut Bank 47, Browning 147, Heart Butte 183, Harlem 191, Valier 198.
1. Della Tromblee, CB 19:49; 2. McKayla Patterson, HAV 20:00; 3. Amy McLain, HAV 20:32; 4. Emily Babcock, CB 20:38; 5. Becca Hilliard, HAV 21:13; 6. Samantha Halko, Centerville 21:16; 7. Mandy Nystrom, HAV 21:26; 8. Haleigh Skillman, Shelby 21:28; 9. Cayla DeBoo, VAL 21:31; 10. Kelsey Malsam, HAV 21:37
Other Havre placers: 13. Kristine Keltgen 22:03; 18. Danika Patterson 22:25; 21. Jaleesa Barthel 22:32; 24. Emily Kostelecky 22:42; 25. Meredith Hansen 22:45; 35. Kim Jestrab 23:53; 42. Chloe Kinna 24:38; 46. Chelsey Small 25:20.50. Jessica Obrecht 25:33; 51. Becka Stone 25:36; 52. Patricia Toldness 25:39; 55. Megan Toldness 26:21; 56. Sarah Lippy 26:22; 65. Mara Malsam 29:04
Browning 22, Cut Bank 80, Havre 113, Shelby 117, Centerville 216, Harlem 241, Great Falls Central 248.
1. Dan Bridge, SHE 16:44; 2. Marlin Blackwolf, BRO 16:45; 3. Edwin Cree Medicine, BRO 16:56; 4. Matthew Bowchild, BRO 17:08; 5. Andrew Gilham, CB 17:09; 6. Terran Gardipee, BRO 17:19; 7. Isaiah Webber, BRO 17:22; 8. Ben Jacobsen, CB 17:27; 9. Josh Tailfeathers, BRO 17:30; 10. Wacey Mountain Chief, HB 17:39.
Havre finishers: 12. Marcus Campbell 17:41; 14. Tyler Crossley 17:47; 27. Jeff Hedstrom 18:56; 29. Justin McLeod 18:57; 31. Seth Hinckley 19:02; 34. Mike Welch 19:19; 42. Jacob Verploegen 20:04; Michael Morelli 20:37