By Kim Staudinger
The Central A cross country teams will gather in Havre this Saturday for the last meet before the state next weekend in Helena.
The junior varsity girls race begins at 11 a.m., followed by the boys at 11:30. Varsity races begin at noon with the girls, followed by the boys at 12:30 p.m. The meet will be held on the Montana State University-Northern's campus course. Awards and results are slated to begin at 1:30 p.m. The top three varsity teams will receive trophies and the top 10 finishers in each race will receive medals.
Teams from Anaconda, Belgrade, Browning, Lewistown and Livingston will join Havre as the six full teams attending the meet. Butte Central will bring one girl to the meet and Dillon will bring three varsity girls.
"It is nice because we get to see all the Class A schools," head coach Kim Ray said. "We have one more meet before state to prepare us for state. This is the meet we need to do it at. We need to go out and try our hardest and get everything together before we go to state."
Ray said the wind is expected to increase Saturday, which may heighten the degree of difficulty for the runners.
"The weather might be a factor for us," she said. "But there are eight other teams that also have to deal with those conditions, so we can't let that get to us."
Although the divisional race is not required for state, the Ponies know it is important and are looking to come away with the first-place trophy.
"It's exciting to have divisionals at home," senior runner Maureen Porter said. "We have a good team, a strong team. We have a good chance of taking the divisional title."
The Ponies have focused all week on mental preparation for the tough two weekends ahead.
"We talked a lot about being mentally prepared and making a conscious effort to do the things they need to do to make themselves successful," Ray said. "You need to know what you are doing before you go to state and run this race like you'll run at state. This is the meet they need to figure it out for themselves what they need to do."
Ray said the team titles should be a battle between Lewistown and Havre, and hopes the girls realize what little things also need to be done to be successful.
"As a coach I expect them to run their best times," she said. "If we run to our potential, we should honestly bring home the first place trophy, but it's up to them."
Notes: Ray still needs volunteers for the meet. Anyone interested is asked to be at the college by 9:30 a.m. and find Kim Ray to tell her you are there to help. Also, as a reminder to fans and coaches, spectators are not allowed on the course during the race and no parking will be allowed in front of Cowan Hall.