By Kim Staudinger
The Havre High track team has had little time to sleep this week, preparing for its third meet of the weekend Saturday.
As the weather became more springlike, the season began to pick up for the Ponies. Havre competed in its first meet of the year Saturday at the Chinook Invitational, then traveled to Great Falls Tuesday for a triangular meet, and had some varsity athletes compete in KG's invite Wednesday. The Ponies' third meet of the week will be their own invitational Saturday at Havre Middle School.
With so many meets in recent days, head coach John Ita said he hopes his squads are prepared and not too tired for Saturday.
Twenty teams are expected to attend the meet, including Havre, KG, Big Sandy, Chester, Chinook, Glasgow, Geraldine, Lewistown, and many of other teams Havre has seen at previous meets.
"Every meet the kids have been improving," Ita said, which he hopes is a good sign for this weekend.
With the bad weather late in March and early April, the Ponies lost nearly four weeks of conditioning.
"We're basically getting our hard training right now with our competition," Ita said.
With the lack of practice time outside, Ita said, the chance of injuries is high. Because of this, Ita said his teams have been "taking it easy" in between the recent meets.
The boys team returns experience with its sprinters and distance runners but, Ita said, the athletes in the field events are young and have been especially hurt by the lack of being able to practice outside.
"The boys will be really scrappy with their speed and distance," he said. "We've got some distance kids who have put in a lot of work in the offseason and its starting to pay off. We're really short in things like hurdles and field events and untested. The boys in the field events are really untested but the good news is we're really young, mostly sophomores and juniors."
Joining the team as a transfer from Glendive is junior Steve Harman.
"He brings good speed and a lot of track experience," Ita said. "That will really help us."
Also joining the Havre track team is Alicia Overcast. Overcast, a transfer from Chinook, is running on the girls' relay team, along with other events.
"The girls are like a miracle team," Ita said. "They keep finding ways to score."
For the boys, Ita said he expects the main competition to come from KG. The KouGars won their recent home invite and also won the Chinook Invitational, both times defeating Havre by at least 50 points.
On the girls' side, Ita said his team should be near the top.
"They keep scoring well and improving every meet. Look for the girls' throwers to improve this week," he said. "Don't count the girls out. They're constantly amazing me."