By Tiffany L. Rehbein
The Havre Blue Pony track team is back in action after the snow created what seemed like a long hiatus at the midway point of the season.
"We are pretty well-rested," Havre head coach John Ita said. "We are just trying to stay injury free."
The Havre girls' varsity will compete at Great Falls on Friday, while the boys' varsity will compete at Butte on Saturday. The Havre JV squad will be at Havre on Saturday.
"We can't afford to have injuries with the boys," Ita said. "The quality of athletes that we have is pretty good, and, if we lose one, we lose big points."
One of those big point-getters is Jake Dusek, who sat out during the last competition with an injury. In an all-class look at the state, Dusek is ranked second in the triple jump with a leap of 41-11. He leads the Class A in the event.
Dusek is second in line behind Mickelson of Butte. The two will meet in head-to-head action on Saturday. Also competing at the meet will be Class A Anaconda and Butte Central, and Class AA Bozeman, Butte, both Helena schools, Kalispell, Missoula Big Sky, and Missoula Hellgate.
Other horses for the boys include Brent Finneman in the 100- and 200-meter races. Chris Klobofski is tough in the shot put, having placed first in the event twice this season.
Senior Jesse Suek is competing well in the discus. His season-best throw of 152-4 ranks him fourth in the state at this time.
Grant Roman is capable of posting fine marks in the middle distance runs, while Brian DeRosa is strong in the hurdles.
Freshman Steve Heberly is progressing quickly in the sprints, and looks to compete well this weekend.
On the girls' side, the Blue Ponies will get the opportunity to compete against all the Class AA schools in addition to Class A Lewistown at Great Falls on Friday.
"We are just trying to get the right combination of girls to gather the most amount of points," Ita said. The Pony girls placed first at the Glasgow Invitational, defeated Great Falls by one point, and technically defeated CMR by one point, although an official mistake created some dispute.
A new angle that the Ponies will try to gather more points includes sprinter Alyssa Matter. In her three official outings this season, Matter has placed first in the 100-meter dash.
After the Rocky Boy Invitational on Wednesday, she could add the 100-meter hurdles to her stack of first-place finishes. Matter, a junior, competed for the first time since junior high in the race and won with a time of 17.36.
The girls are loaded with talent across the board with power in sprints, throws, jumps, and distance.
Junior Jennie Peterson is strong in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races. She set a personal-best time in the 3,200 at the Great Falls duels and went on to beat it one week later at CMR.
She holds the second-fastest time in the state at 11:45.1 in the race. She leads the Class A in the event. She is also ranked third in the state in the 1,600 with a time of 5:30.1.
Freshman Jenna Baltrusch, junior Jillian Brough, and senior Erin Lynch are also strong point-getters in the middle distance and distance races.
Sophomore Amy Ranes is strong in the high jump, while classmate Jeri Matter and freshman Brooke Schwan are capable of gathering points in the event.
Tami Huestis, Erin Patera, Jeanna McPherson, and Jayla McPherson are doing well in the field events. Senior Maureen Porter is holding her own in the pole vault for the girls.