By Jess Green
The Havre High School cross country team will compete at State competition in Helena this weekend. Two years ago the squad did not finish well and cross country was nearly cut from the Havre athletics program.
In a program saving effort, the runners won divisionals last year and then placed fourth at the State competition. Once again thing are looking up for the team. They competed in this year's divisionals and just missed first place by a single point.
This years team consists of a several varsity seniors. These seniors include Jennie Peterson, Jillian Brough, Nikki Grant, Carly Schubert, and Stacy Siebrasse. Schubert and Siebrasse will attend the state competition as alternates.
Each of the senior runners has done well this year and shown leadership qualities toward the rest of the team.
Jennie Peterson anchors the team with outstanding performances throughout the year. She has been narrowing the gap on the young Wasewi Shawl of Browning with each race.
Other runners for the Blue Ponies are Alicia Rundquist, Jena Baltrusch, Nikki Dibblee, and Hailey Schnittgen.
Also doing very well this year is the junior varsity runners. The JV group took first at divisionals last weekend. These up-and-coming runners ensure that Havre should be competitive in the years to come in spite of the loss of their graduating seniors.
Blue Pony coach Kim Ray is in her second year with the cross country squads. Ray and her assistant, Kristen Smith, are proud of their team and believe that they have a legitimate shot to win at state this year.
Ray said that they will need to have a better top five pack time. She would like to see her top five runners finish within two minutes of each other. They are close to that now. Currently, Havre's top five runners finish within two minutes, 12 seconds of each other.
Another important task for the runners at state will be to know where the competition is and how they are faring. However, while it is important to know the status of the competition, it is also significant for each runner to stay focused on their own condition and that of the team.
Whatever the result, it will all play out to an exciting finish this weekend as the Blue Pony Harriers will attempt to catch a state victory. They will be running in the first race of the day at Bill Roberts Golf Course in Helena, Mont. at 11 a.m.