The Havre High cross country program runs a lot of big, and tough races throughout the season. But no races are as big, or as important as the ones the Blue Ponies will compete in over the next two weeks.
The 2012 postseason starts on Saturday for the Central A cross country program. And hosting the divisional meet for the first time since 2007, the Ponies have an opportunity to catapult themselves into the state meet next weekend, riding a real wave of success. The Central A divisional meet will take place Saturday on the campus of Montana State Uni
versity-Northern in Havre. The race begins and end in front of Cowan Hall, with the junior varsity girls starting at 10 a.m., and the junior varsity boys starting at 10:40 a.m. The varsity race will begin with the girls teams at 11:20 a.m., followed by the varsity boys at 12:00 p.m. The awards ceremony will also take place at 12:30 p.m.
“It was a good year for us hosting the meet to fall on,” Havre High head coach Kyle Fisher said. “We have 18 seniors on the team, and so for those seniors it will be their chance to run at home, so it is just nice to be having divisionals here this year. It is good for our younger kids too, but it special for our seniors.
“This sets the tone for next weekend at the state meet,” Fisher added. “So for the kids to go out and have a good race, that confidence they find should just roll over into next weekend too.”
The state meet will be next Saturday in Helena.
But before the Ponies can make noise at the state level, they must first get past the Lewistown Golden Eagles, Livingston Rangers, Belgrade Panthers, and the Browning Indians. Each program has ran strong this season, and it is going to take another great outing by both Pony squads if they hope to achieve a top finish.
The HHS girls however, aren’t looking for just a top finish, instead, the Ponies are looking to repeat as the Central A conference champions. HHS was the No. 1 team a year ago, and has the talent to be that team again this weekend. Jes Wiken, Katie Christianson, Trisha Kinsella, Larissa Price, Morgan Mazurkiewicz, Liz Facio, and Kiana Robertson have had a standout season already, and have proven to be a top Central A team as well as Class A team in the state. And after dominating most of the conference this season, their No. 1 finish could come down to how well they run against the Golden Eagles. Lewistown could very well challenge the Ponies for the top finish.
“For our kids to repeat in the conference is huge for them,” Fisher said. “It would definitely be something special for them. Lewistown is always a tough team, and I would say that Lewistown and us are both top five teams in the state. They are definitely the team that we are keeping our eyes on.”
For the HHS boys, there is still some mystery behind the varsity runners, as well as what could go down in the conference.
Marc Klimas, Desmond Fialkosky, Elijah David, Sundance Lodge, and Dylan Stuart have been the consistent leaders for the Ponies this season. But the six and seven spots in the lineup are still up in the air, as HHS has run several different runners in those positions during the season and have yet to find a permanent placeholder.
It isn’t exactly clear who will run in the bottom of the lineup on Saturday, but whoever it is, they better step up if they boys hope to make a major impact this weekend.
“We are still trying to determine the rest of our runners,” Fisher said. “We have about five other kids that are right on the bubble for running in that six or seven spot. We are trying to find a postseason team, and it will be undecided right up until Friday (today). I was just talking to the kids tonight, and the boys do have the toughest conferences in the state. We have five very, very solid teams, and that really makes it competitive for us.”
Fisher believes that boys’ side of the conference could see any one of the teams finish in the No. 1 spot, as well as the No. 5 spot. And no matter how it ends up, any of the five Central A teams have the talent to be a top 10 team at the state level.
Both Pony squads will look to finish as the best team in the conference on Saturday, and both teams have the talent to do so. The girls’ consistencies have led the way, while the boys inconsistencies have limited them. But knowing what is on the line, both squads are anxious to run at home on Saturday.
“The kids are looking forward to it,” Fisher said. “I think the kids are going to run hard and we will see good things on Saturday.”
The junior varsity girls begin at 10 a.m., and the junior varsity boys will begin at 10:40 a.m. The varsity girls will begin at 11:20 a.m., and the varsity boys will begin at 12 p.m. The afternoon will be wrapped up with the awards ceremony at 12:30 p.m., all taking place on the campus of Montana State University-Northern in Havre. The Class A state meet is next Saturday inHelena.