By Tiffany L. Rehbein
Havres Jennie Peterson won her third title of the season and led the Blue Pony cross country team to a second-place finish at the Fergus Invitational Saturday.
Peterson ran a career-best 18:35 to bring home top honors for Havre.
Senior Jen Dibblee clocked her career-best time in 19:58. It was the third time in three races that she improved her previous time. She finished fifth overall at the meet.
On her heels, freshman Jenna Baltrusch clocked a career-best 20:01 for a sixth-place Blue Pony finish.
They looked really good, first-year head coach Kim Ray said. Our top five are getting closer together, but our pack times are still over five minutes apart.
The pack times between the first and fifth runners have improved, with more than three minutes separating Peterson from Jillian Brough, the fifth Havre runner.
Brough finished the snow-covered three-mile course in 21:38, good for a 13th place finish at Lewistown.
Erin Lynch finished 11th in 21:27. Nikki Grant clocked in at 21:51, while Alicia Rundquist ran the course in 22:04. Carly Toldness ran a 22:17 in the snow.
Cara Holmquist finished in 23:31, Ericka Bailey stopped the clock at 24:31, Nancy Cline clocked in at 26:19 and Jen Gorder finished in 27:46.
The good thing with the meet was the weather gave the girls an idea of what they might experience in the last three weeks of running, especially at state, Ray said.
Havre finished with 36 points, just two off meet-winner Lewistown, who finished first at state last year.
For Baltrusch, in her first year on the course, setting a personal-best time was a big step.
I had no idea how it would be, Baltrusch said. I just heard it would be hills, so I was thinking my time would be slow.
So Baltrusch strapped on some spikes and set her goal to stay with teammate Dibblee and set a personal-best time.
I guess we had a pretty good practice week and we were pretty well rested up, Baltrusch said.
She is looking forward to the only home meet Saturday at MSU-Northern.
Im really excited, Baltrusch said. Lots of my family will be able to watch and my time just keeps coming down by 30 seconds. Baltrusch hopes to run in the 19s by state, which is only three weeks away.
Teammate Peterson reached her goal of running in the 18s.
It made me really happy, Peterson said. I was so numb from the race, it didnt seem like I was going that fast. I was trying to run fast to be done with the race. By the end of the race, we had ice crystals on our hair.
By state, Peterson hopes to run at least an 18-flat.
I was excited for our team, she said. It shows so much, that if we work together, we can see what we can do. Jen Dibblees time was phenomenal, Jenna Baltrusch, shes so quick, it makes me happy.
The cross country team competes at Havre for its first and only home meet of the season, and the last competition before divisionals.
The varsity race is set to begin at 10 a.m.
The junior high, who is slated to run its last competition Saturday at Havre, saw Emily Kostelecky finish the two-mile course in 15:46. Amanda Laeupple finished in 16:53.
Junior High results
Emily Kostelecky, 15:46; Amanda Laeupple, 16:53; Katie B. Jarvis, 14:07; Laura, 17:27; Goldie Dodson, 18:15; Leandra, 18:42; Kyla, 18:50.