Daniel Horton Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2009 Havre High boys and girls track and field teams fought the weather for another spring track season. But all of the Blue Ponies' hard work and efforts won't be for not, as they gear up for another trip to the state meet. On Friday and Saturday, the Ponies will compete for the coveted Class A state championship at the Bulldog Memorial Stadium in Butte. Events on both days will get underway at 7:30 a.m. “It’s just a phenomenal feeling.” Havre High head coach Roger Larson said. “We’ve got good numbers, and it’s slightly higher than I thought. They’re just floating on cloud nine right now.” After taking 14 kids a year ago, HHS has 18 individuals making the trip to state this season, 10 boys and eight girls. And the results of more numbers is more chances to place, 35 total over the two days in Butte. Making the trip on the boys side is Kaden Keto (1,600, 800, triple jump), John Perrodin (110 hurdles and 400), Ethan Flathers (400, 200), Mike Hickman (long jump, high jump), Jack Teske (long jump, high jump, triple jump, javelin), Jake Myers (pole vault), Tyson Gruber (pole vault), Thomas Kline (pole vault), Nate Christianson (100, 200) and Tyson Kultgen (100). And on the HHS girls squad, Sarah Blessum (400, 1,600), Mikell Kinsella (800, triple jump), Karla Hellegaard (triple jump), Madison Ruff (javelin), Sammy Evans (high jump, triple jump), Kasondra Dawson (discus, shot put), Kristina Lozano (pole vault) and Jaye Ceynar (pole vault) will make the state trip. Both the Pony boys and girls’ 400-meter and 1,600-meter relay teams will compete in the state meet as well. Points and championships are hard to get at the state level, but with the numbers HHS has qualified the Ponies have to like their chances. “There are more opportunities.” Larson said. “You are taking more points out of every race or field event. Points are everything and are hard to come by, so the more chances you have to get them the better chance you have of getting a trophy. And by returning to the state meet, Hickman, Keto, Hellegaard, Blessum, Flathers and Teske know what the competition is going to be like. They have to lead the team from past experiences and also by example. “They are all ready,” Larson said. “They know how to compete and are ready for the state level.” There are going to be a lot of good programs and individuals in Butte this weekend, but there are a couple of schools that really stand out compared to the rest of the field. The Pony girls biggest competition will be the defending state champion Belgrade Panthers. And for the boys, they will have their hands full with the Corvallis Blue Devils. “Belgrade is a very good team as we just saw.” Larson said. “ And Corvallis just has a great team put together. They have good numbers.” What makes the Panthers and Blue Devils so tough is the fact they don’t have specific areas of strength or weakness. They are both very well rounded squads and have a roster full of talented athletes. “We need our kids to peak right now,” Larson said. “Friday and Saturday are the last two days of the season, so whatever they did last week (divisional meet), they need to do more.” The jumping events and the distance races have proven to be key for the Ponies this season. And with having multiple athletes in the 1,600-meter, 800-meter, 400-meters, triple jump, long jump and high jump this weekend they should place fairly well. And since the Ponies have executed all of their events very well this season, practice this last week has been very relaxed. The kids know what they need to do and are already in the shape they need to be in. This last week has really been their chance to rest up and work on technique more than anything. “We are getting them fine tuned a little bit,” Larson said. “And then just turning them loose Friday and Saturday.” Having 18 kids and 35 chances to place this weekend, the Ponies have a real shot at either a boys or girls trophy. It will take a solid effort from each individual, and that’s really all Larson is asking for, their best. “If they can outdo their best then it is a success and we have done our job as coaches,” Larson said. “And if they just continue to improve then you know you are doing your job right, and that’s the real measure of success or not.” The Ponies will compete in the Class A state meet on Friday and Saturday. Events will begin at 7:30 a.m. on both days at the Bulldog Memorial Stadium in Butte.