It has been over a week since the Havre High track and field team has seen any competition, and after a solid outing the last time out, the Blue Ponies are looking forward to getting back out on the track.
The last time the Central A Ponies sa
w competition was April 3, when they competed in Havre at the annual Cal Wearly track meet. But after some up and down weather conditions, and more than enough time to get in practice time, the Ponies should have another good outing on Saturday.
HHS will host the annual Lions Invitational on Saturday, where traditionally, the top talent on the Hi-Line makes an appearance. Including Chinook, North Star, Big Sandy Harlem and Box Elder. But top-notch teams like Malta, Shelby and Wolf Point also make the trip to Havre, making the Havre Invite a tough outing, but a solid measuring tool.
“The kids are excited, especially since it is a home meet,” Havre High head coach Trevor VanCampen said. “It is always nice to be comfortable in your own surroundings and know your own track, so the kids are excited. The kids have been working hard at practice, and hopefully they get some good weather to compete in.”
The talent is always tough at the annual invite.
It isn’t a huge meet, with too many teams, but there are state caliber athletes in every event. This is a great opportunity, not only for the Ponies to perform well in front of the home fans, but also to see how they match up with other times and marks that amongst the best in the state.
For the Ponies to be successful, they have to execute to their ability. HHS has great talent on both the boys and girls squads, and that has to shine through. But in a meet like this one, it is also important to grab points whenever possible, meaning pack as many kids into as many events as possible.
This season, Jennifer Nordgulen, Ashlynn VanVoast, Peyton Filius, Sammy Evans, Skylar Vukasin, Lacey Waid and Kaylie Gilman have really stepped up. They all led the Ponies at the Cal Wearly, and should produce again, against a lot of the same talent. And for the boys, most of the scoring has come from Mason Case, Garrett Aguillard, Marc Klimas, Thurman Holdsclaw, Matt Emge, Zach Plum, Thomas Gruber and Kade Rismon. They too stood out at the Cal Wearly, and need to have similar results this time around.
“We need to score points where we can,” VanCampen said. “We also need our experienced athletes to score some points, but also have some new faces step up and score where they are not expected to. That is always nice if that can happen at a meet.”
Overall, just like every meet, it is going to take a great team outing by the Ponies if they hope to finish near the top. The Chinook boys and North Star girls have proven to be worthy opponents this season, but the Ponies can hold their own as well. And if the Ponies want a real sharp look at where the squad stands at this point in the season, performing well this weekend will give them a great idea where they match up with top competitors across the state.
“As far as the Hi-Line competition goes, the kids should get a really good idea on where they stand after Saturday,” VanCampen said. “But they should also get an idea of how they match up with the rest of our division, just by looking at the numbers across the board. If we compete how we are capable of, we should know a lot about ourselves as individuals as well as a team.”
Saturday is the first of four home meets for the Blue Ponies. HHS will also host Great Falls High in a dual meet on Tuesday afternoon. The Ponies are also at home for a triangular against Lewistown and Malta on May 5, then they will host the Central A Divisional May 18-19.
The field events will start at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, and the running events will follow at 10 a.m., as the Ponies host the annual Lions Invite at the Havre Middle School track.