The Havre High boys and girls cross country teams were looking forward to the start of the season. The Blue Ponies had already put in a ton of work over the summer, and were rounding off three weeks of practice.
And after competing at the Cut Bank Time Trials in Cut Bank on Friday, it looks like the Central A Blue Ponies are well on their way towards a successful season.
No team scores were kept on Friday, but the Pony individuals turned in some solid times. And facing some very tough completion as well as the conference rival Browning Indians, the Ponies got a good look at where they are at this early in the season.
“Comparing our girls with Browning,” Havre High head coach Kyle Fisher said. “We are right above them. The Polson girls (Norwest A) were also there so it was good to compete against them as well. But for the whole team (boys and girls), we got to compete against Great Falls High (AA), CMR (AA) and Flathead (AA) and getting to do that this early in the season was awesome for our kids.”
The HHS girls looked very strong in the season opener, especially the Ponies' top five runners.
Newcomer Jess Wiken led the pack and finished with a time of 20:41. Trisha Kinsella also stepped up her game and finished with a time of 20:45. Katie Christianson finished in a time of 21:26, while Ashlynn Van Voast finished in 22:34 and Shelbi O’Neil finished in 2:50 to round out the girls’ top finishers.
“They did a great job,” Fisher said. We had two girls (Wiken and Kinsella) that were right under 21 minutes and this early in the season, I don’t know if we have ever had that. They all did a nice job for us and a couple of them will definitely be dropping below 20 minutes here soon. All that summer running is paying off right now.”
But the rest of the girls’ squad also turned in good times in their first weekend of competition.
Mikell Kinsella finished in 23:13, followed by Megan Rainey with a time of 23:56, Paige Sedahl with a time of 25:08, Kayla Berg with a time of 25:28, McKenna Barkus with a time of 25:30, Madie Hanson with a time of 26:00, Neya Bischoff with a time of 28:14 and Sydne Huston with a time of 28:23.
The Pony boys also got a solid outing in the season opener.
Garrett Aguillard, anther newcomer to the team this season, led the boys with a time of 17:09. Marc Klimas followed close behind with a time of 17:32, while Dolan Tuss finished in 18:30 and Derek VanDessel finished in 19:17 to round off the boys’ top competitors.
“We had some good suprises,” Fisher said. “We are ahead of where have been for the past few years and our kids jut did a great job. Garrett Aguillard was our No. 1 boy and he is definitely stepping up and doing a nice job as a first year runner for us. Marc Klimas, Dolan Tuss are also way ahead of their times from last year. Here in the next couple of weeks we will see this boys team come together as a team.”
Freshman Alec Drew wasn’t far behind either, as he led the way for the rest of the Blue Pony runners. Drew finished with a time of 20:05 in his first ever high school race, while Nick Rhines finished in 20:52, Dillon Seely finished in 21:00, Matt hanley finished in 21:11, Cole Milligan finished in 21:29, Dylan Stewart finished in 23:57, Dakota Christianson finished in 24:05, Austin After Buffalo finished in 24:19 and Dustin Seely finished in 24:21.
“All the way through, from our younger kids to our seniors did a nice job for us. We are definitely ahead of where have been in past years and things are looking good.”
Overall it was a pretty good day for the Ponies as they got their season underway in Cut Bank. It was good for them to compete against other runners besides themselves, and now they have a good idea of what they need to work on moving forward.
“Right now it is week to week,” Fisher said. “I am just excited for our kids and where we are at. There isn’t anything huge that we have to work on over the next couple weeks, just stay after it and work hard and we will keep heading in the right direction.”
HHS will get its next opportunity to compete on Friday, when they travel to Malta.
Havre Individual Times
Jess Wiken - 20:41
Trisha Kinsella- 20:45
Katie Christianson- 21:26
Ashlynn Van Voast- 22:34
Shelbi O'Neil- 22:50
Mikell Kinsella- 23:13
Megan Rainey- 23:56
Paige Sedahl- 25:08
Kayla Berg- 25:28
McKenna Barkus- 25:30
Madie Hanson- 26:00
Neya Bischoff- 28:14
Sydne Huston- 28:23
Garrett Aguillard- 17:09
Marc Klimas- 17:32
Dolan Tuss- 18:30
Derek VanDessel- 19:17
Alec Drew- 20:05
Nick Rhines- 20:52
Dillon Seely- 21:00
Matt Hanley- 21:11
Cole Milligan- 21:29
Dylan Stewart- 23:57
Dakota Christianson- 24:05
Austin After Buffalo- 24:19
Dustin Seely- 24:21