Chris Peterson Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the great dynasties in high school athletics is currently the Havre High girls swim team. There is really no debate when it comes to the subject. The Ponies have dominated Class A swimming for the past decade winning multiple state championship in girls swimming and now the Ponies seek to continue their stranglehold on class A swimming. “We have had a lot of success over the last few years,” HHS head coach Chris Inman said. “We have a lot of great kids here that work extremely hard and they deserve all the success that they have gotten over the years.” Last season while the HHS girls were winning their seventh consecutive state championship, the Blue Pony boys swim team came up just short of a state title, finishing second for the second straight year. That makes it three years now since the Havre boys have captured a state swimming title. “Our boys did such a great job last season,” Inman said. “They worked really hard, but unfortunately they just came up a little bit short. Hopefully this year will be their year to win it because they have worked so hard and they are such good kids. They really deserve it.” The HHS girls captured last season’s state title by placing in relay events and getting a place in an individual event by Jessie Obrecht. The Ponies notched 21 points, 11 points ahead of Hardin, who had just 10 points. Obrecht returns this year for the Ponies and she will be one of the top swimmers on the 2006 HHS girls team. Along with Obrecht, the Ponies will also return key swimmers such as Morgan Zimmer, Cassandra Dawson, Mary Beth Blankenship on the girls team, as well as Kenzie Johnson. D.J. Stucker also placed for the HHS boys at state last year. “So far things have been going really good at practice and we have been working really hard trying to get better. But we are going to be a little inexperienced.” The HHS boys team is more experienced and will feature Jordan Magelssen and Scott Vigliotti, as well as Stuker. “The boys team is made up of mostly veterans,” Inman said. “They have been working at it for a few years now and they have come so close. I really think that this year they are going to have a good chance to finally get there and win that state championship.” The main competition that the girls team will face will be Hardin, the second-place finisher from a year ago. The boys team will have to overcome defending state champion Billings Central if the Ponies want to capture their first state championship since 2002. “On the girls side, it is probably going to come down to us and Hardin,” Inman said. “It will most likely come down to the relays and which team can do better in those races will have a good chance to win. On the boys side it should be between Billings Central and us. There are some other teams that may be able to challenge for it, but Havre and Billings Central are generally the top two teams. “I just want our kids to go out and do the best job they can,” she added. “If they go out and give it all they can, than they are all champions to me, whether they win or lose.” The Ponies will start their season this weekend in Kalispell at the Kalispell Invitational. The event will feature a number of Class AA schools like Kalispell, CMR, Great Falls High, Missoula Hellgate and Missoula Sentinel.Typically, both the Blue Pony boys and girls teams compete extremely well at the AA meets during the regular season. “It should be a good challenge for us,” she said. “There will be a lot of good teams there and it will be great for our young swimmers to get some experience and learn what high school swimming is all about.” The Blue Ponies open their season on Saturday in Kalispell. Havre High will host the Havre Invitational on Dec. 9.