By Tiffany L. Rehbein
Expectations were met at the Mountain West Classic at Missoula Saturday.
Havre, the No. 1 Class A team to cross the line, finished 10th in the team standings overall.
The big thing with the team score was we beat Columbia Falls and last year they got third at state, said first-year head coach Kim Ray. It gave the girls the confidence in their ability to compete.
Havre notched 280 points while Columbia Falls finished 11th with 330. North Central won the girls meet with 84 points, followed by Snohomish and Mead with 100 and 124 points, respectively.
Now they know in their minds they can compete with Columbia Falls, Ray said.
Helena, Capital and Kalispell were the Montana schools, all AA, that placed before Havre. They finished fifth, seventh and ninth, respectively.
Junior Jennie Peterson paced the Blue Ponies with a team-low time of 19:29.28, good for a 14th place finish. Last year, Peterson finished 108th overall.
Senior Jen Dibblee broke the career-best time she set last week at Glasgow and replaced it with a time of 20:29. She finished 43rd at the meet.
Freshman Jenna Baltrusch finished 47th, clocking in at 20:30.5. Erin Lynch notched a time of 21:49 followed closely by Jillian Brough who finished in 21:50.
Nikki Grant clocked in at 23:07 while Maureen Porter, who has not competed since the Cut Bank Time Trials due to an injury, finished with a season-best time of 24:07.
The race, in its 10th year, played host to more than 1,000 runners from not only Montana but also Canada and some out-of-state schools.
The competition was really, really good, Ray said. It was a good meet to run and get their times really low.
Dibblee, one harrier leader, found the three-mile course a challenge.
My legs hurt a lot, Dibblee said. The competition was great down there. We got to see out-of-state runners and good runners.
Dibblee has run for the Blue Ponies since her freshman year and plays the role of encourager on the team.
I just try to keep everybody warmed up and tell everybody, good job, Dibblee said.
Her teammates have helped Dibblee to break her own career-best mark during the course of her senior year.
Keeping up with Jennie (Peterson) is the biggest drive, Dibblee said. I want to stay as close to her as I can.
Peterson had finished first during the past two meets this year, setting her own career-best time of 19:16 last week at Glasgow.
Dibblee looks to lead the Blue Ponies to a first place finish at state this year, including her own personal goal of a top 25 finish and a time under 20 minutes.
Saturday, Havre travels to Lewistown, but the harriers are prepared for its only home meet of the year, Saturday, Oct. 9, at MSU-Northern.
Im looking for a first place finish at home, Dibblee said. Weve seen all the teams so far and we know now we need to kick it in and move up. I hope to see everybody out there. Its a chance to see what were made of at our only home event.
Also Saturday, the junior high and junior varsity competed at Malta.
On a course less than three miles long, Carly Toldness led the Blue Ponies clocking in at 19:45. Cara Holmquist finished in 21:07 followed by Nancy Cline with a 24:29.
Emily Kostelecky finished first for Havre in 9:51. Katie B. Jarvis was the next young Blue Pony across the line in 10:33.
Havre varsity 14, Jennie Peterson, 19:29; 43, Jen Dibblee, 20:29; 47, Jenna Baltrusch, 20:30.5; 107, Erin Lynch, 21:49; 108, Jillian Brough, 21:50; 149, Nikki Grant, 23:07; 171, Maureen Porter, 24:07.
Junior varsity Carly Toldness, 19:45; Cara Holmquist, 21:07; Nancy Cline, 24:29; Jen Gorder, 23:09; Rachael Spangelo, 21:50; Ericka Bailey 22:13, Stacey Siebrasse, no time recorded.
Junior high Emily Kostelecky, 9:51; Goldie Dodson, 11:34; Amanda Laeupple, 10:49; Katie Jarvis, 10:33; Leandra Crosby, 11:12; Alishia Crosby, 10:51; Kyla, 11:58; Laura, 12:05.