Havre Daily News
A busy weekend is in store for the Havre High track team as the Ponies travel to Butte and Great Falls on Saturday to face off against top-level competition.
The HHS girls team will be headed to Great Falls for the Optimist Invitational and the Blue Pony boys will be going to the Dahlberg Invitational. The meets kick off a tough stretch of five track meets in a little over two weeks for Havre High.
“Our kids are going to be really busy over the next couple of weeks,” HHS head coach Mark West said. “It's going to be a very tough stretch where the kids will face a lot of great competition and hopefully they will begin to peak a little bit as we start to move towards the end of the season and the bigger meets.”
This weekend will mark the first time that the Ponies have traveled outside of Havre for a track meet and it will also give them a chance to show what they can do against some of the top Class AA schools with all 13 AA schools expected to be in Great Falls and around 10 or 11 AA schools competing in Butte.
The Ponies are coming off of a dual against Great Falls High on Tuesday and both teams competed well, especially the girls.
Lena Suek and Carmen Neuens were highlights for Havre, taking first place in the discus and high jump, respectively. The Ponies also had a number of other solid individual performances from Mandy Nystrom, Casea Pollington, Kelsey West and Meredith Hanson.
“Lena is really excited to compete against some of the top competition in the state because she has not really faced a lot of tough competition so far this season, and it's a great chance for her to see what she can do against the best,” West said. “It's going to be a good challenge for all of the kids and it's going to be exciting to see what they can do.”
The HHS girls don't really have a lot of weaknesses, but the one thing the Ponies are lacking is depth in some areas. But, the Ponies do have a lot of promising young athletes such as Tricia Samson, Hannah Wells and Amanda Hedstrom, among many others, who are full of potential and are close to giving the Ponies the depth they need.
“We have a lot of good young talent on our girls team,” West said. “They have really stepped up and they have done a great job of getting better each week. They have to keep working and keep getting better.”
The Havre High boys team will be led in Butte by sprinters Derek Verploegen, Kyle Finneman, Kyle Rummel, distance runner Robert Brooks and young jumper Jack Teske. Brooks, Verploegen and Teske were the only Ponies to take first place honors in the dual against GFH.
“We have got good performances from our sprinters all year,” West said. “Derek Verploegen, Kyle Rummel and Kyle Finneman have all done a great job of anchoring that part of our team. Robert Brooks has also done a very nice job in the mile and the two mile.”
The Havre boys are also looking to build depth, especially in the field events. The Ponies are loaded with a lot of young talent such as Teske, Michael Hickman, Paul Jensen, Jason Mudrow and Robert The Boy.
“Jason Mudrow has been a real surprise for us in the hurdles,” West said. “He did a great job against Great Falls High and hopefully he can continue to get better. We also have some very talented freshman like Paul Jensen, who has done very well as a thrower and others like Hickman and Teske, who have been great in the triple jump.
“We are going to have our hands full over the next couple of weeks but it's nice to see some different competition,” he added.
The girls only Optimist Invitational in Great Falls will get under way on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Memorial Stadium. The boys-only Dahlberg Invitational in Butte is also scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.