By Kim Staudinger
Nearly 20 teams from all over the state and Canada will be in town Saturday for the Havre Invitational Cross Country Meet.
Havre coach and meet director Kim Ray anticipates 70 plus runners will compete in the varsity girls race and approximately 80 to run the the boys race. Over fifty runners are expected to run in each of the boys and girls junior varsity races. Numbers for the middle school race were unavailable.
The meet will begin with the middle school girls running at 10 a.m., followed by the middle school boys at 10:30 a.m. The junior varsity girls race is scheduled for 11 a.m. with the boys to follow at 11:40. Varsity races being at 12:20 for the girls and the boys at 1 p.m.
Teams attending the meet are Browning, Columbia Falls, Havre and Lewistown from Class A, Cut Bank, Shelby, Harlem, Malta and Glasgow from Class B, KG, Sunburst, Heart Butte, Dodson, Belt, Valier and Cascade from Class C and Wetaskawin Composite High School and Moose Jaw High School from Canada.
The top 10 placers in each race will receive individual awards.
Ray expects her girls to have some tough competition, but hopes the tough Havre course will catch some opposing runners of guard.
"Being at home should come to our advantage," Ray said, mentioning the college course is more difficult than the course at state. "We have a pretty good mental picture of what our course is like. It is always a good meet for us because we are at home. We usually have quite a few fans coming to support us."
Ray said Lewistown, Cut Bank and Columbia Falls will all be tough competition for the Ponies and individual runners from Belt and Dodson should also finish near the top.
Dodson's Stephanie Fox ran a 20:56 last weekend in Lewistown and Columbia Falls' top four runners consistently run times under 20:50. Belt junior Nicole Wildhalm legged out Alicia Rundquist in Lewistown by five seconds, giving Rundquist some motivation for Saturday.
"Cut Bank has looked really good the last couple of meets," Ray said. "Lewistown is going to be tough. Their first two runners will challenge our top runners."
Candice Rodriquez and Kristen Mantooth finished with times of 20:05 and 20:09, respectively.
"After Lewistown we look really good, "Ray said. "We need to continue to drop seconds off our times."
Ray would like to remind fans to stay off the course during the race due to interference problems last year.