Daniel Horton Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Both the boys and girls Havre High cross country teams recorded No. 4 finishes a week ago at the Central A divisional race last weekend. But heading into state, the Blue Ponies are confident they will both have better finishes. On Saturday, the Central A Blue Ponies will make their way to the University of Montana Golf Course in Missoula for the 46th Annual Montana High School Association Cross Country Championships. The Class A boys will start at 11 a.m. and the Class A girls will follow shortly, starting at 12 p.m. Saturday. A year ago, the HHS boys finished as the No. 5 team, while the Pony girls took the No. 7 spot at state. Both squads have been running well all season long, and though they didn’t do as well at divisionals, they seem to be peaking at just the right time. “I think our kids are at the top,” Havre High head coach Kyle Fisher said. “And this is the time we should see them start to peak. I expect good things out of our kids this weekend.” The atmosphere at state alone is enough to cause a decrease in times. But factor in the relatively flat course the athletes will be running on, and this weekend should have a lot personal best times in store for the Ponies. And in this week’s preparation, the Ponies have really tapered down. They are in as good of shape as they will be in, and have geared their preparation towards getting focused and just being ready to compete. As of now, the lineups for the boys and girls will remain the same as at divisionals. But for the boys, there may be some changes come race time. Kendal Murie, Kade Barsotti, Dillon Seely, David Jeffereys, Chazley Hulett, Zack Smith and Anfernee Standing Rock are scheduled to run for HHS, but with Standing Rock and Barsotti a little under the weather, Ty Bauer will be there as an alternate, ready to fill in if necessary. No matter who runs for the Ponies on Saturday, Fisher has the confidence they will be one of the top teams in the state. “They are definitely capable of being towards the top of the Class A,” Fisher said. “I am looking forward to seeing them race, I know they are going to do a good job. This is what we trained for all year and they should be ready to go.” Running for the girls will be Brittanee Korb, Mickell Kinsella, Shelby O’Neill, Trisha Kinsella, Sarah Vigiolotti and Neya Bischoff. And just like the boys, Fisher is con- fident that the girls will continue to run well and prevail as one of Class A’s top teams. “Our girls have been doing a nice job for us all season,” Fisher said. “And I feel in a bigger race our girls are going to be towards the top. I think they are going to beat the teams like Belgrade and Browning, the teams we lost to last weekend. I feel our girls are going to be great.” Being healthy will be key in the Ponies success. But just as important, Fisher cant stress enough how they need to go into this weekend with high confidence. They have been on the heels of Browning and Lewistown all season long, and though they have the ability to overtake them, there will also be some other tough teams in attendance. For the boys, Columbia Falls, Laurel and Corvallis will also test the Ponies. And for the girls, Whitefish, Hamilton and Glendive will give the Ponies a run for their money as well. But the Ponies are confident in whomever they come up against. They have the individual talent to be a dominant team, and should be able to improve on last years finishes. Standing Rock has the ability to be a factor for the boys, but how he is feeling will determine if he even runs. And Murie will also play a big part, and has a shot at being a top five finisher. And Korb, Mikell Kinsella and O’Neil will be key factors for the HHS girls. They have led the pack all season long, and should set the pace again. “We definitely want to look for kid's individual results first,” Fisher said. “And the team scores will take care of themselves. And as long as we are healthy and just run hard, we should improve on last year's performance.” The Class A state cross country race will take place on Saturday in Missoula, where both the boys and girls Pony squads will compete. The boys will start at 11 a.m. and the girls will start at 12 p.m.