Daniel Horton Havre Daily News email@example.com
With much of the area high school sports already underway, the Havre High boys and girls cross country teams can finally join them after three long weeks of practice. On Friday, the Central A Blue Ponies will get their season started in Cut Bank with a handful of other schools from across the sate. “We are ready to get out there and run against somebody besides our selves.," Havre High head coach Kyle Fisher said. “We are really looking forward to this.” There are a number of quality programs making the trip to Cut Bank this weekend. Joining the Ponies will be Class AA Kalispell, Great Falls High and CMR. And out of the Central A, the Browning Indians will be there as well as a handful of smaller schools. The talent that the Ponies will have the opportunity to run against will make for a helpful and strong season opener. And though both the boys and girls main focuses are the Indians, running against Class AA squads will be a good measuring tool. “It should be a pretty good opening meet,” Fisher said. “It will be good to see Browning, but also everybody else. Running against those bigger schools will be a good test for our kids, and it will show us where we are at not only in the Class A, but overall.” According to Fisher, there are a few things that both the boys and girls teams can focus on to be successful in their season openers. Pack times will be key, as will beginning to shave seconds off of times with each and every race. On the girl’s side, the young runners are looking strong. Brooke Jappe, Shelbi O’Neil, Mikell Kinsella, Brittanee Korb and Shay Tatsey are all sophomores and juniors, and should have a strong weekend. Senior Sarah Vigliotti is also a strong runner for HHS. And on the boys side of things, Kendall Murie, Kade Barsotti, Anfernee Standing Rock and David Jefferey are the ones stepping up early for the Ponies. And just like their female counter parts, they too are looked at to have a strong weekend. “They are all just doing a nice job for us right now,” Fisher said. “And we are looking for other kids to start filling in with them.” The Ponies had a good season a year go, but if they hope to build on their successes having a good season opener is a good place to start. Last season the Pony boys took the conference championship, while the Pony girls ran away with the No. 2 spot. And at state, they wrapped up their season with a boys fifth-place finish and a girls seventh. As a whole, the Ponies are young, but not inexperienced. They have extensive varsity experience, and have the skills it will take to reach the level of the state’s elite. “The kids want to be right up there in the top of the conference,” Fisher said. “And both the boys and girls teams want to trophy at state. We definitely have some work to put in, but it’s also something that is defi- nitely in sight.” The Central A will be a challenge again this season. For the boys, Lewistown and Browning will push for the conference title. And for the girls, Lewistown who took second in the conference a year ago comes back strong this year with most of their returning roster. “It’s going to be a tough conference again,” Fisher said. “But our kids are right there with them. I think we are going to be good to go.” The Ponies will enter Cut Bank coming off of solid performances at their inner squad race on Tuesday. And after seeing the results, Fisher was more than pleased with where his squads are at heading into a new season. “After seeing our times and seeing our kids run I think we are ahead of where we were last year.” Fisher said. “I’m feeling pretty good about where we are at, but obviously we have a long ways to go until the end of the season.” The Ponies will get their cross country season underway in Cut Bank. HHS has four races this month before it hosts the Havre Invitational Oct. 3.