By Tiffany L. Rehbein
With the regional top 10 meet next Tuesday and the divisional and state meets less than one month away, the Blue Ponies are fine tuning their track and field game plan.
In the girls' distance events, Jennie Peterson looks strong. Peterson is ranked second in the state in the 3,200 meters, with a personal-best time of 11:45.1.
She trails Class AA leader Heidi Lane of C.M. Russell. Lane, a sophomore, was the Class AA cross country champion last fall. Peterson finished fifth at the state cross country meet.
Peterson is also ranked fifth in the state in the 1,600 meters with a time of 5:30.0. Ballew of Colstrip, in the Eastern A Division, is currently second in the state (5:25.5). Lane is ranked first (5:15.6).
Peterson has won individual titles in the 3,200 twice and placed in the event in every meet this season. She has won an individual title in the 1,600 once.
Freshman Jenna Baltrusch is also doing well in the distance races. She also competes in the 800 meters with teammates Jillian Brough and Erin Lynch.
Alyssa Matter is a fine sprinter for the Ponies. She has a personal-best mark of 13.0 in the 100 meters which she set at Havre in a dual against Great Falls.
Matter placed first in the race for three straight weeks and has placed in the event at every meet so far this season.
Stacey Rehbein of Sidney looks to be Matter's stiffest Class A competition. Rehbein has a season-best mark of 12.9 in the race.
Havre's Jamie Branden and Jess Leonard are also strong in the 100.
Matter also leads the way for Havre in the 200 meters, with a season-best time of 27.0. Senior Tamara Sullins has the identical personal-best mark.
Rehbein is ranked fifth in the state for the Class A with a time of 26.9. Bigfork and Anaconda also boast strong sprinters in the 200.
Matter is gaining strength in the hurdles, an event in which she has not competed since junior high. She has a time of 17.4 in the 100 hurdles. Freshmen Karla McCormick and Brooke Schwan also compete in both hurdle events.
Whitefish's Hill boasts the fastest Class A time in the state in both the 100 hurdles (15.9) and 300 hurdles (47.6).
Junior LaShae Michels has the quickest time in the 300 hurdles at 52.1.
Freshmen Sherry Winchell and Katie Siebrasse join Sullins in the 400 meter run. Both Siebrasse and Sullins have clocked in at 64.0 in the race.
In the field events, the javelin is dominated by Andrea Batt of Frenchtown, who leads the state with a toss of 144-0. Sidney, Bigfork, Whitefish, Colstrip, and Columbia Falls each boast fine throwers.
Senior Erin Patera has a toss of 117-7 behind her this season. Brandy Thomas and Jeri Matter also compete in the event.
In the shot put, Jayla McPherson, Jeanna McPherson, and Melissa Haymaker have been pushing each other all season. Each of them have a toss of 30 feet or more.
Each of them is also in strong contention in the discus, although Tami Huestis has the team-best throw of 100-0.
Frenchtown's Batt leads the state in the shot put (45-1 1/2). In Class A competition, Bree Fuqua of Polson is second in the state with a toss of 44-1. Johnson of Bigfork and Mandy Craver of Belgrade, who the Ponies will see at divisional, also boast a strong thrower.
Fuqua leads the state in the discus with a toss of 156-9, while Johnson and Craver are ranked in the top 10.
Amy Ranes, a 5-foot-10 sophomore, has a personal-best mark of 5-1 in the high jump. Livingston's Rae Stevenson leads the Class A at 5-2 in the event. Jeri Matter and Schwan both have a mark of 4-10 in the event.
Michels is strong in both the long and triple jump. She has a leap of 34-0 in the triple jump and 16-3 in the long jump. Butte Central's McCree is second in the state and top in the Class A at 17-1 3/4 in the long jump. Johnson of Colstrip is also strong in the event.
Class C's Ashley Jones of Harlowton leads the state in the triple jump at 36-9 1/2. Erickson of Billings Central looks to be Michels' toughest competition in the division.
Cara Holmquist and Maureen Porter gather points in the pole vault for Havre. In the Class A, as of April 19, 9-6 looked to be the height to beat.
In the boys' field events, senior Chris Klobofski leads the way with a season-best toss of 48-5. Shawn Solomon has a toss of 42-3 behind him and Matt Sasaki has a throw of 40-0.
In the Central A, Belgrade's Clark has the state-high throw on the season at 53-11 1/2. Lewistown's Allen is also a fine thrower, while Glendive boasts two strong athletes and Hamilton has one thrower ranked in the state.
Senior Jake Dusek is a fine triple jumper for Havre. He has a personal-best mark of 42-0. Tyler McIntyre of Butte Central has a mark of 42-10 1/2, which has him ranked fourth in the state.
Dusek is also strong in the long jump, leaping 20-0. Lewistown's Bowman could pose the stiffest Central Division competition. He has a mark of 20-9 1/2 at this time.
Senior Jesse Suek has a personal-best mark of 148-2 in the discus. Lewistown's Allen has a toss of 157-2 under his belt.
In the sprints, the Ponies are loaded with talent in Brent Finneman, Steve Heberly, and Adam Landgraf. They are each within tenths of one second of one another in the 100 and 200 meters.
While Finneman runs the quickest 100 at 11.2, 11.0 appears to be the barrier to surpass in the state. Jovan Fisher of Browning has a personal-best 10.9 in the 100 and 22.7 in the 200. Finneman has a 22.8 200, while Heberly, a freshman, has a 22.9 mark.
That speed has its advantages in the 400 relay, where the Ponies lead the Class A with a time of 45.8.
Nick Pyle, Joe Roman, and Grant Roman compete in the middle distance runs, while Robert Crawford, Rick Husar, and Dave Martens compete in the distance races.
Brian DeRosa and Joey Howland lead the way in the hurdles for the boys.
Sasaki, Casey Arensmeyer, and Chris Anderson compete in the javelin. Jens of Colstrip leads the Class A with a toss of 210-2.
Six feet four inches looks to be the competitive height in the high jump in the Class A. Brandon Crawford and Jacob Lorang could compete in the event.
Lorang leads the Blue Ponies in the pole vault at 10-0, however, 13-0 looks to be the height to beat.