For a lot of high school athletes, the chance to compete at the state level could elude them for a complete four years. But that isn’t the case for the seniors of the Havre High cross country teams, as they will get the opportunity to end their prep careers running at the highest level.
And like a lot of teams, the Pony seniors running in Helena on Saturday have been the leaders and crucial components to the team's success this season.
Marc Klimas, Desmond Fialko
sky, Derek VanDessel, and Bren Broadhead are all seniors who will be running for the HHS boys this weekend. And for the girls, it will be Jess Wiken, Katie Christianson, Trisha Kinsella, and Larissa Price who will end their careers at the state meet.
“It is definitely one of the better things a senior runner can do,” Havre High head coach Kyle Fisher said. “And it is great to get that opportunity, but is also emotional for them because it is their last race as a Blue Pony. It is bitter sweet, this is a group of kids that has worked not only during the season, but outside the season. And they have led the team all year long and they have done a great job for us. Their hard work has definitely paid off for them and they are why our teams are so successful.”
The senior girls have a legitimate shot at leading the Ponies to a state trophy this season.
They are fresh off of their second consecutive Central A divisional title and are considered one of the top teams in the state. Wiken has been the No. 1 runner for the Ponies all season, while Christianson, Kinsella, and Price have been the No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4 runners respectively. It is fitting that the top four runners this season are seniors, because they are the leaders of the team, and carry a good chunk of the load.
“We really pushed hard this year,” Christianson said. “I was kind of worried because we did lose some important seniors from last year, but we also gained some girls that have helped us this year. But we know we are at a state trophy level this year, and that has really motivated us.
“It is going to be awesome,” Christianson added. “We are all excited for this weekend. And just knowing that we are one of the top teams in the state makes it so much better, and makes me so much more excited for it. I really think our team is going to do great.”
It is similar for the HHS boys, as the seniors are also amongst the top four or five running positions this year.
But Fialkosky knows just how tough the field of talent is going to be this weekend, as well as knows how hard they have to compete if they hope to clinch a finish near the top.
“I think that if we run the hardest we possibley can,” Fialkosky said. “And leave everything we have on the course, that we can finish top 10, maybe even top five. I think we have a good chance of a top finish.”
The road hasn’t been as easy for the boys team this season, but they haven’t let that hinder the team. The seniors have really stepped and even helped mold some of the younger runners like sophomore Elijah David, a future leader of the HHS runners.
“We basically just push everybody,” Fialkosky said. “Last weekend I told Elijah David, a sophomore, to beat me because I knew he had the potential to, and I knew it would make our pack time better and make our team better. I pushed hard that race too, and he managed to beat me. It just trickles down from the top, so if (Klimas) runs hard then we all try to keep up with him, so it makes us all run hard.”
Both Pony squads have a good chance to being crowned a top team this weekend, while the HHS girls have a very good shot at bringing home a state trophy. But no matter how they finish, coach Fisher is pulling for both sides, knowing how much they deserve it.
“You want it (a state championship) for every one of your kids and teams,” Fisher said. “But I always think our kids are well deserved because of how hard they work, and I want to see them get that success.”
The Blue Pony boys and girls compete at the Class A state meet Saturday morning in Helena.