By Kim Staudinger
One split second too fast.
That's what Colstrip senior Tuff Harris has to think about after the State Class A Track Meet in Missoula Friday and Saturday.
Because Harris took off out of the starting blocks a second too fast, he was disqualified and unable to defend his title in the 100-meter dash. That opened the door for Havre's Steve Heberly to regain the title he had claimed as a freshman.
Heberly, who easily won the 100, said he would have liked the chance to win it running against Harris.
"It would have been more fun to run against him," Heberly said. "It would have been a good race."
A mild controversy swarmed the track after Harris' disqualification. Harris thought he had just gotten a quick start. Heberly saw it differently.
"He came out of the blocks so fast, he had to have false started," he said. "He was already up and sprinting and the others were still in the blocks."
The decision stood and the race had to be run again. Times were noticeably slower. Heberly's winning time of 11.27 seconds was his worst all year.
"My time suffered because I had to rerun the whole thing pretty much," Heberly said. "I know I can run faster than that. It was harder. I didn't run as fast as I usually do."
Harris still had his shot at the Havre junior in the 200. But once again, Heberly prevailed and defended his title in a time of 22.02 seconds. Harris came in second at 22.59 seconds.
Heberly also ran the anchor leg of the short-relay team, which took first. The Ponies finished in 43.70 seconds. Colstrip was fourth in 44.62 seconds.
"We had a bad hand-off, but we still managed to win," Heberly said. "It was pretty neat that we won that because probably nobody really expected us to win that either."
The Ponies weren't able to keep Harris off the medal stand entirely. Harris placed first in the high jump and also edged out Havre's Steven Harman for first in the long jump.
As a team, the Ponies came home with fourth place. Curt Leeds, Garrett Watson and Josh Klobofski each added fourth-place finishes to add to the Havre team total. Justin Kegel added a fifth-place finish.
For the girls, senior Jayla McPherson won the crown in the shot put with a throw of 38 feet 1.5 inches. Kelsie Smith came in fifth in the 100-meter dash and Brooke Schwan tied for sixth in the high jump.