By Alan Sorensen
They went. They ran. They won.
The 2000 girls' team returned home with Havre High's first ever cross country state title. Havre's harriers edged Miles City's girls 95 to 98. Lewistown came in third with 113 points. Central A rival Browning came in eighth with 251 points.
It's become almost routine for a Hi-Line girls' team to take a fall state title. And state cross country titles are almost a given each fall. But girls' titles have always come in basketball, and cross country titles have invariably gone to KG in recent years.
Despite producing two of the greatest distance runners in Montana history Debbie Raunig and Kathy Jarvis Havre High had never won a girls' cross country team title.
That has been changing the past few years as the team gained numbers and strength and Havre's harriers came closer and closer to the state trophy.
That change culminated Saturday afternoon when the Havre girls put their best foot forward and outlegged the competition on the Bill Roberts Golf Course in Helena.
The Blue Ponies edged Miles City by three points 95 to 98 to capture the trophy that will take its honored place in the Havre High trophy case.
Havre was led by its latest star, Jennie Peterson, who came in fifth in 19 minutes and 21 seconds.
Peterson was followed by teammate Jenna Baltrusch who crossed the finish line in eighth place in 19:44.
The other five Havre runners all finished in the top 50, too, with the first three contributing to the team's final total. The other Havre runners and their places and times were: Alicia Rundquist, 17th in 20:10; Jillian Brough, 28th in 20:50; Nikki Grant, 37th in 21:13; Nikki Dibblee, 41st in 21:19; Hailey Schnittgen, 46th in 21:26.
For those who wish to show their appreciation for the hard effort put forth by the girls in taking the 2000 state title, a car caravan in the Blue Pony harriers' honor is planned for this evening.
Havre Public Schools Activities Director Charlie Klimas said everyone is invited to gather at the Holiday Village parking lot at 5:30 p.m. and caravan to the high school gym and meet in the gym at 6 p.m.
"It will be an opportunity to congratulate our state champion cross country team," Klimas said. "And everyone's invited.