It has been two weeks since the Havre High School boys and girls track teams have seen any competition. But after two weeks of nothing but preparation, the Blue Ponies are ready for what could turn out to be a very rewarding divisional track meet.
Today and Saturday the Central A Blue Ponies will compete in the Central A Divisional track meet in Butte. The Ponies will find themselves up against a tough field as they take on the Belgrade Panthers, Lewistown Golden Eagles, Butte Central Maroons, Livingston Rangers and Browning Indians.
“The kids are hungry to get back on the track and face our very good divisional competition,” Havre high head coach Trever VanCampen said. “This year the Central A is one of the deeper divisions in the state, so we have also been preparing the kids mentally so they know the talent they are up against.”
The Ponies have come a long way since the beginning of the season, but they still have a long road ahead of them. Both the boys and girls teams have put the last two weeks of practice to good use and will hopefully be firing on all cylinders come meet time.
Weather has not been an issue the second half of the season, so preparation for divisionals has been in full swing. And since it’s a select group making the trip to Butte, coaches have really been able to narrow their focus. And to make things better, the kids have all had positive attitudes and have been working extremely hard, especially during these reaming practices leading up to the divisional meet.
“The kids have really been focusing on their events and working hard on getting all the small things fixed,” VanCampen said. “They are going into divisionals with the momentum we have been building up all year and hopefully we can get a real good look at where we stand in the division this year.”
HHS has 19 boys making the trip. Garrett Aguillard will compete in the 1,600, 400 and 800-meter races, while Ty Bauer will compete in the 200, 400 and 800-meter races, as well as the 4x400 relay. Dolan Tuss will also run the 800 and 3,200-meters, while Desmond Fialkosky will run the 800 and 1,600-meter, Marc Klimas will run the 1,600 and 3,200-meter and Chazley Hulett will run in the 800-meter and 1,600-meter.
Mason Case will also make his mark on the track, running in the 4x400 and 4x100 relays, as well as the 100, 200 and 400-meter races. And Kade Barsotti will compete in the both relays, as well as the 100, 200, 400-meter races and the long jump. Corderro Strickland will compete in both relays, as well as the 100-meter, 200-meter and long jump, while Kendal Murie will run the 1,600, 3,200 and the 4x400 relay. Tyson Kultgen will also try to earn points on the track in the 4x100 relay, 100 and 200. And Michael Richards will run the 110 and 300-meter hurdles, while Zach Plum will run the 100, 4x100 relay and will also compete in the pole vault as the Ponies most experienced vaulter.
In the field events, Joey Devries will take on the shot put and discus, while Matt Emge and Thomas Gruber will compete in the pole vault, and Thurmon Holdsclaw will compete in the pole vault and triple jump. Trent Nystrom will take on the shot put, discus and javelin for HHS, and Kade Rismon will compete in the shot put, discus and javelin as well.
And the HHS girls have 14 individuals making the trip this weekend.
Katie Christianson and Brittanee Korb will both compete in the 1,600 and 3,200, while Brooke Jappe and Larissa Price will both compete in the 800 and 1,600-meter races. And Peyton Filius will compete in the 400, 800 and 1,600-meter, as well as the 4x400 relay, while Mikell Kinsella will compete in the 400, 800 and 4x400 relay. Ashlynn VanVoast will compete in both relay races, as well as the 200, 300-meter hurdles and the 800..
Kaylie Gilman has a full weekend with both relay races, and the 100, 200 and the high jump. And Jaye Ceynar will run the short relay as well as the 100 but will also look to grab points in the pole vault, while Alexia Olson will also run both relay races, as well as compete in the 100, 200, high jump and pole vault. Lacey Waid will also run the 200-meter as well as compete in the pole vault.
Sammy Evans will also have a full weekend. Evans will run the 200 as well as the 400, and will also compete in the high jump, long jump and triple jump. And rounding off the Pony competitors, Jennifer Nordgulen will compete in the short relay, 100-meter dash, long jump and triple jump, while Paighton Gilman will tackle the shot put, discus and javelin for the Ponies.
Bauer, Case, Murie, Barsotti, Strickland, Kultgen, Plum and Klimas probably hold the most promise as to placing and making the state meet for the HHS boys. And on the girls side of things, Ceynar, Christianson, Filius, Kaylie Gilman, Paighton Gilman, Olson, Kinsella and VanVoast should carry the majority of the load, besides Evans, who has a shot in making the state meet in all five of her events.
“With everybody we are taking to divisionals, we believe the team has what it takes to compete for a spot at state,” VanCampen said. “The coaches as a whole have faith in everybody’s ability, but some will definitely have to step it up and earn a personal record. We expect everybody to perform like they are a year older since they have basically another year of track behind them, and our expectations are high for every kid we are taking.
“But when you face teams with such depth like Belgrade," VanCampen added, “It’s hard to compete team wise. We are really pushing for individual performances and if we can move into second place, that’s not a degrading place to land. That would definitely be a stepping stone for the direction we are taking the program and every little bit of success will help. We want all the kids to be happy with their performances and we are looking to get as many to state as possible, which would be another big stepping stone as this program continues to grow.”
Today and Saturday the Blue Ponies will compete in Butte at the Central A Divisional track meet.