By Tiffany L. Rehbein
Havre The heart of the Hi-Line. The life of Northcentral Montana. All roads lead to ...
Well, eventually some roads lead to Havre. One definition of "central," according to Webster, says, "Easily accessible from out-lying districts."
Let's ask the seven teams who are in Havre this weekend for the State Class A volleyball tournament, "Just how centrally located is Havre?"
Whitefish, Corvallis, Bigfork, Hardin, Colstrip, and Livingston all left their beds early, some really early, Wednesday morning to make the trek to Havre.
Lewistown, the nearest competitor and participant, just 174 miles away, practiced at home and looked at leaving town Wednesday afternoon. They open the tournament against Corvallis at 10 a.m. on Thursday.
Corvallis, in the southwest corner of the state, will travel around 310 miles en route to Havre. Head coach Jim Striebel said he has never been to town.
Colstrip, located in the southeastern corner of the state has the farthest drive approximately 407 miles. They loosened up at MSU-Northern after the long drive, where they practiced for an hour on Wednesday evening.
Bigfork and Hardin race for one of the longest drives.
The Bulldogs from Hardin left around 11 a.m. They battled snow for half the drive 334 total miles and arrived safely. They, too, practiced at Northern.
Bigfork exchanged the beauty of Flathead Lake for the rapids of Fresno. They traveled a little fewer than 350 miles to compete at the state tournament.
Livingston is making its second trip to town. They also fought snow for some of the 285 miles. The Rangers were in Havre on Feb. 25 competing in conference action.
Whitefish came across the moutaintop on Wednesday, also. They broke up the 253-mile drive with a practice in Cut Bank.
But the Bulldogs should become somewhat familiar with the drive. Beginning this fall, the football team will be on next year's schedule with the Blue Ponies.
But, the Blue Ponies have already made the drives. They have competed at Livingston (just two weeks ago). They have competed at Dillon (last week.) They have traveled to Lewistown.
And, playing just their fourth home match of the season, the Ponies will get their own beds and their own pillows before competing at the biggest tournament of their careers state.