This girls varsity team could very well be one of the most talented teams HHS has put together. in quite some time. But their success goes much further than that. As well as being very talented runners, Jess Wiken, Trisha Kinsella, Katie Christianson, Larissa Price, Ashlyn Van Voast, Chanel Standing Rock and Mikell Kinsella are also friends, something that has propelled this team to not only a 2011 Central A conference title, but also hopefully a top spot at the state meet this weekend in Missoula.
“It helps that we almost have the same team from last year,” Van Voast said. “We are more of a team I guess, and have just ran a lot together. We also do a lot more things together and we have gotten a lot closer this year. We know each other well.”
And the girls’ hard work started before the season even started. It helps that most of the girls returned from last season, but the team got a huge boost as they ran hard over the summer before the season even started.
Head coach Kyle Fisher got out and ran with the entire team like he does each season, but that was just the beginning. The HHS girls also went out and ran together as well as attended running camps.
“I have seen them come together as a team,” Fisher said. “This is a group of girls that has been working together through the summer and this entire fall season. And putting all that time in is what has brought them all together.”
And fortunately for the Ponies, the closer the team became, the more competitive they got.
Practices over the stretch of a full season can become monotonous. Running against your own team can grow tiresome, but the HHS girls pushed each other each and every day. As the girls grew closer they realized how talented this team is, and began to hold each other accountable. They pushed themselves and others to work hard at all times.
“When we are running at practice and a girl falls behind,” Van Voast said. “Everybody is always like ‘come one, you got it, keep running hard.’ We all know when somebody is slacking or needs help and we all tell each other to just pick it up.
“I feel like when it is another teammate telling me to step up I can do it a lot better than if it is a coach,” Christianson added. “We all try not to let other girls get too far in front of us. This year a lot of the spots have switched up and everybody always wants to finish in the next spot up. The places are always rotating and it’s not always the same No. 1 finisher for us so we all run hard and try to finish as high up as we can.”
Fisher also sees that as one of the team strengths this season.
“Every practice is like a meet,” Fisher said. “The girls are competitive all the time and when one girl is down they all bring her up. They are always there for each other and it is a team effort all the way through.”
Just last weekend the program took huge strides forward with a conference title. And now with the state meet just days away, the HHS girls would also like to take a top spot in Missoula. They have worked hard all season long and really believe they have earned it, and if they go out and run as well as they have, a trophy, and top three finish would just be icing on the cake for the Blue Pony girls.
“I would be so excited and happy if we did that (finished in top three),” Christianson said.
“That would be awesome,” VanVoast added. “And if we just go out and run like we have been able to run all year ong, I think it is something that we can definitely do.”