George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor firstname.lastname@example.org
There is only one chance for the Havre High School swim teams to compete in front of their home fans. And that opportunity came Saturday as the Blue Ponies and head coach Chris Inman played host to the 2007 Havre Invitational at the Havre Community Pool. But because both the Pony boys and girls are so successful, they invite strong competition to their meet, and this year was no exception as HHS was the only Class A school in attendance. On the girls side, the Ponies, who have captured eight straight Class A state championships, finished third among the five teams in the meet, while the Pony boys finished fourth. CMR of Great Falls captured the girl’s meet with a whopping 152 points, and the Rustlers appear to be the clear cut favorite to capture the AA state title this season. Great Falls High was a distant second with 51 points. The Bison finished just two points ahead of HHS, while Glacier High School and Kalispell finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Individually, the Ponies got a strong effort from veterans like Kenzie Johnson and Jessica Obrecht, and they were especially tough in the relays. The Ponies did most of their damage in the freestyle events as Johnson finished third in both the 50 free and the 100 free. She turned in a finals time of 27.72 in the 50 free and 1:08.99 in the 100 free. Logan Bunton also helped the Ponies in the 50 free, finishing sixth and Kacie Johnson turned in a fifth-place finish in the 100 free. She also came back to swim a strong race in the 400 freestyle, finishing fourth with a time of 5:26.50. Obrecht, another veteran HHS swimmer, turned in solid performances in both the 100 breaststroke and the 200 individual medley. She finished third in the 100 breast with a time of 1:25.66 and fifth in the 200 I'm with a time of 2:39.56. Jamaica Kaercher had an excellent day in her home pool as well. She finished fourth in the 200 freestyle race with a time of 2:47.79 and fifth in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:22.85, while Mary Beth Blankenship turned in a pair of sixth-place finishes in the 100 backstroke and the 200 I'm. As always, the HHS girls were as strong as ever in the relay races, regardless of the competition. The Ponies finished fourth and fifth, respectively in the 200 freestyle relay and fourth in the 200 medley relay. The HHS “A” team in the medley event was composed of Kenzie Johnson, Kacie Johnson, Blankenship and Obrecht, while the HHS “A” team which finished fourth in the 200 freestyle relay was made up of both Johnson’s, Bunton and Blankenship. The “B” team which turned in a fifthplace finish was composed of Mariah Armstrong, Sabrina Rhines, Obrecht and Kaercher. Meanwhile, the CMR Rustlers also ran away with the boy’s meet on Saturday. The Rustlers scored 103 points to easily beat rival GFH, which scored 88 points. Glacier was third with 64 points, while the Ponies scored 19 points and Kalispell was last with 18 points. Individually, the Ponies’ best performance came from standout Steven Barton in the 50 freestyle. Barton finished second in the event with a blazing time of 26.62, coming in just behind Glacier’s Philip Rempe. Barton also came on strong in the 100 breaststroke, finishing third with a fast time of 1:20.57. Havre’s only other points on the day came from its “A” team in the grueling 400 freestyle relay. The team of Charlie Stratton, Collin Carlson, Greg Rhines and Graysen Vukasin finished fifth with a time of 5:07.09. The team of Kelly Albright, Matt Olsen, Mike Morelli and Chris Mirador just missed out on scoring in the event, finishing seventh overall. The Blue Ponies will be back in the pool on Friday in Great Falls for the two-day Great Falls Invitational. The Great Falls meet will be the last meet before HHS is off for the rest of the month.