By Tiffany L. Rehbein
After four competitions on the road, including two overnight stays, the Havre High cross country team returns home to host the Havre Invitational Saturday at MSU-Northern.
And the KG KouGars will have the opportunity to compete as close to home as they can.
Twelve girls teams, 11 boys teams and more than 300 contestants, from junior high through high school, will compete at the meet.
Belt, Browning, Columbia Falls, Cut Bank, Dodson, Glasgow, Harlem, Havre, Heart Butte, Lewistown, Malta and Valier will compete in the girls division.
Hays/Lodgepole, KG, White-water, Sunburst, Heart Butte, Belt, Browning, Columbia Falls, Cut Bank, Dodson and Glasgow will compete for the boys.
As a team, Havre looks to lower its pack time, bringing its No. 4 and 5 runners, Erin Lynch and Jillian Brough, closer to its No. 2 and 3 runners, Jen Dibblee and Jenna Baltrusch, head coach Kim Ray said.
They want to compete with Fergus again, Ray said. We stack up really good.
Stevie Gore of Lewistown and McKenzie Sherburne of Browning are top competition for the Ponies.
Sherburne finished fourth at the Mountain West Classic in Missoula with a time of 18:59.39 two weeks ago.
Havre junior Jennie Peterson finished 13th at the same meet in 19:29.28.
Well get to see McKenzie Sherburne, one of the fastest runners in the state, Ray said. It will give someone for Peterson to run with, and let her see where shes at right now.
Havre boasts one of the more difficult courses that should pose a challenge to the harriers. The Blue Ponies have been on the course three times during the course of the week to prepare.
They know the course, they know where they can speed up on the downhills. They know the course in their minds, they know exactly where the mile marks are, Ray said.
Six of the 13 Blue Ponies posted personal-best times last week at Lewistown. Havre finished second with 36 points.
Peterson finished first in 18:35, a career-best mark.
Dibblee finished fifth in 19:58, a career-best time. Baltrusch was hot on her heels, clocking in at 20:01, a career-best watch stopper.
Lynch posted a best time of 21:27, good for 11th place. Nikki Grant clocked in at 21:51, her best ever time. Carly Toldness came in after 22 minutes, 17 seconds, her quickest ever.
Brough finished 13th in 21:38. Senior Nancy Cline clocked in at 26:19. Jen Gorder came in at 27:46, while senior Cara Holmquist clocked in at 23:31.
Alicia Rundquist finished in 22:04, Stacey Siebrasse stopped the clock at 24:07 and Ericka Bailey clocked in at 24:31.
Theyre excited, theyre ready to have a home meet, Ray said. Its the only time the people in the community get to see their cross country team run.
This will be the final competition before divisionals, which begin next weekend at Livingston.
The junior high girls, in their final competition of the season, kickoff the competition at 10 a.m., followed by the junior boys at 10:30. The varsity girls take off at 11 a.m. and the varsity boys close out the meet, beginning at 11:30 a.m. at Northern.