With all of the other high school activities going on this time of year, the Havre High track team is once again excited to have the entire team competing. On Saturday the Central A Blue Ponies boys and girls track teams will host the Lions Invitational at the Havre Middle School track. The meet will get underway at 9 a.m. “We are super excited to have our whole team back,” Havre High head coach Roger Larson said. “And the good thing about putting on your own meet is that you get to set it up the way that you want. You get to choose the minimum heights, the minimum distances and so you are in charge. That’s always a comforting feeling.” This year the Lions Invite is slightly lower in numbers compared to years past. Fourteen teams will still make an appearance this weekend in Havre, but a new meet to the area put on by Fairfield will also take place this weekend in Great Falls. The talent pool will still be pretty deep on Saturday. A lot of the local Class C and Class B teams will be in attendance, and the Ponies can expect to face a lot of the same teams they faced in last week's Cal Wearley meet. The Central A Lewistown Golden Eagles are also expected to attend. And if they make their way to Havre this weekend, they will gain a lot of Blue Pony attention. “It’s great to have your own meet,” Larson said. “But the Class A talent is spread out all over the state right now and that’s the only unfortunate thing. You like your kids to run against everybody, but you really pay attention to the times in the Class A. At the end of the year that’s the ultimate goal, to beat everybody in Class A.” Having the entire Pony team back together is big for every event, but where it will really help is in the short relay. Both the boys and girls 4x100 meter relay teams will get the biggest payoff on Saturday. The short relay is the trickier of the two relays, and neither team has run with 100 percent of its members this spring, and it has really taken its toll. Tyson Gruber, John Perrodin, Corderro Strickland and Tyson Kultgen make up the boys 400 relay, while Marlee Kirchgasler, Alexia Olson, Paige Sedahl and Jaye Ceynar make up the girls. And with each participant being present at this weekend’s competition, both relay teams should get a big boost in their finish. “You like to have the whole team for your relays,” Larson said. “You want to get those down and you want to run your varsity relay all year long. (Handoffs) are kind of a big deal, a lot of things can go wrong and handoffs are huge. You can make up a few seconds just by getting the baton around the track properly.” Havre High School is confident it will once again place near the top on the girls and boys side. The Ponies started the year with good numbers, and are still holding onto a solid group of athletes. They have also maintained a solid group of returning stars, while discovering some new talent. Last weekend Strickland competed in his first-ever track meet. He had shown great promise in practice, and proved he will be a viable asset to the varsity program in the 100- and 200-meter sprints, as well as the long jump and relay team. “He did a great job surprising everybody,” Larson said. “He did a phenomenal job.” Olson has also been outstanding this year for the girls squad. And while Larson will keep an eye on both Olson and Strickland’s progress, he will be focused on some of the more seasoned athletes this weekend. Last Saturday the likes of Karla Hellegaard, Sammy Evans and Perrodin were missing from the Blue Pony squad. All three return to action this weekend, and having them back will be key to the Ponies’ success. Hellegaard and Evans bring a lot of talent to the girls jumping events, and Perrodin has dominated in the hurdles. Their ability to score points will be a big advantage for Havre on Saturday. “It will be nice to see them out,” Larson said. “It takes the pressure off of a lot of other kids that feel they need to step up big time and score some points. Now they can just go out and relax, and run their race the way they’re supposed to and let these older kids go in and do what they are accustomed to doing.” The Lions Invite is slated to begin on Saturday at 9 a.m. at the HMS track.
Ponies host Lions Invite on their new track
Published: Friday, April 16th, 2010
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