There’s no place like home, that is what the Havre High cross country team is saying as the Blue Ponies gear up to run in front of home fans for the first time this season.
Saturday the Central A Blue Ponies will host the annual Havre Invite. Runners from across the Hi-Line and from across the state
will run on the campus of Montana State University-Northern. The junior high race will begin with the boys at 10 a.m. and the girls at 10:30 a.m. The junior varsity boys will begin at 11 a.m., followed by the junior varsity girls at 11:40 a.m. And last but not least, the varsity boys will begin at 12:20 p.m., followed by the varsity girls at 1 p.m.
“Every time we get to stay at home and run at home, it is a good thing. You have your fan base there, friends and relatives, and it is just fun for the kids. And this week is homecoming week, so there is going to be a lot of the student body out there and it will just be fun for them.”
And this being the home course for the Ponies, they know it very well.
They run it numerous times in practice during the season, and run a lot of hills in preparation for this invite. The MSU-N campus will also be the site of divisionals this year, so the Ponies have spent even more time than past seasons running this route.
The stage is set for both the boys and girls teams to run well at home this weekend.
“We prepare for this invite all year long,” Fisher said. “And with divisionals here also, we have definitely prepared for this. The kids are definitely excited to here.”
But whether the Ponies know this course well or not, they also know the competition is going to show up and compete.
HHS is expecting als many as 15 teams to show up and run on Saturday, and it is going to be a very talented mix of runners. The Browning Indians, Glasgow Scotties, and Lewistown Golden Eagles will highlight the pack on both the girls and boys side. And the Ponies know just how talented the field will be, as they have seen these three teams a number of times this season.
The HHS girls are expected to take the No. 1 team spot. They are anchored by Katie Christianson, Jess Wiken, Trisha Kinsella, Morgan Mazurkiewicz, Larissa Price, Kiana Robertson, and Mckenna Barkus, but will need a great pack time. Last weekend they ran with a pack time of 1:39, there first race breaking two minutes. If they can speed up even more, they will have a very successful weekend.
“They have been working hard and I expect them to do well,” Fisher said. “Their goal as a team is to win and to keep being successful, and that is where we stand. We always expect them to compete at a high level. We expect that pack time to keep getting better this week, and we can hopefully break the 1:30 mark so that by the end of the season we can it under one minute.”
The HHS boys also have a shot at another team title this weekend. Marc Klimas, Elijah David, Sundance Lodge, Dylan Stewart, Derek VanDessel and Nick Rhines make up the varsity runners this week, and have all turned in very good times at one time or another. But coach Fisher needs each runner to turn in a great time the same weekend.
“We have been preaching consistency to these boys all year long,” Fisher said. “And as a team, they are capable of it, but it is just a matter of everybody stepping up. Every weekend we have individuals step up, but we need the whole team to do that. I expect them to do well this weekend.”
Saturday the varsity boys will begin at 12:20 p.m. and the varsity girls will begin at 1 p.m. The race will start in front of Cowan Hall on the campus of MSU-Northern in Havre.
2012 Havre High Cross Country
10 a.m. — Middle School Boys
10:30 a.m. — Middle School Girls
11 a.m. — JV Boys
11:40 a.m. — JV Girls
12:20 p.m. —
1 p.m. — Varsity Girls