Chris Peterson Havre Daily News email@example.com
A new era of Havre High track and field has begun, as new head coach Roger Larson takes over for former head coach Mark West. Larson, who is former track standout at KG, where he was a part of four consecutive Class C state championship teams, left a coaching position for the Rocky Mountain College football team to become the new HHS track coach. Larson was a standout defensive back at RMC, where he earned Frontier All-Conference honors twice. “I am really excited about the opportunity,” Larson said. “I think that it’s a great chance for me. When I heard about it, I jumped at the chance and now here I am. I am very excited for this chance.” Larson's first season at the helm should finally start on Saturday when both HHS track teams travel to the Cut Bank Invitational. Larson will take over a program that has struggled at the state level in recent years, but he will undoubtedly have some pieces to build upon. “I think that the number of kids we had come out was down from last year,” Larson said. “But I think that we have a lot of great kids. I guess you could call it quality over quantity.” The HHS boys team may have the most potential heading into the new season with the return of former Class A state champion sprinter Kyle Finneman. Finneman won both the 100 and 200-meter dashes at the 2006 Class A state track meet in Butte. Yet, last season, Finneman was hampered by a hamstring injury that prevented him from competing in the sprint events all season. However, Finneman, who is headed to the University of Montana to play football next fall, is healthy now and should be a threat to win state titles in the 100, 200 and 400-meter dashes. He will also compete in the javelin. Fellow senior Andy Keim, who is a standout distance runner, will also return to help lead the Havre Boys. Keim should be a strong contender at the state level in both the 1600 and 3200-meter runs. Other key components on the HHS boys track team will include senior Jason Mudrow, who will compete in sprints and hurdles, Michael Hickman, who will compete in sprints, hurdles and jumps and Robert The Boy, who is the team’s top thrower. Grayson Winsor is another thrower who will be strong for the Ponies this season. Other likely standouts for the HHS boys include Jack Teske, John Perrodin and Kaden Keto. Meanwhile, the HHS girls will be led by senior Hanna Wells, who will compete in the hurdles, jumps and relays, as well as Sarah Blessum, who will be a long-distance runner for the Ponies and Karla Hellegaard, who will compete in the jumps. “I think that we have a chance to be a pretty good team,” Larson said. “We have some great athletes on both our boys and girls teams. “My first goal is going to be to get our boys to win divisionals,” he added. “I want the girls to win but I am not sure if we have enough numbers for them to win at divisionals, but I certainly think that we will be able to place. Doing well at divisionals is where our goals are going to start, but hopefully we can keep improving as the year goes on and compete well at the state level.” The Ponies were scheduled to compete last weekend in Glasgow, but the meet was cancelled due to inclement weather. However, the Ponies plan to be in action for the first time this season on Saturday, when they will participate in the Cut Bank Invitational in Cut Bank.