The time to begin peaking is now for the Havre High boys and girls cross country teams.
The regular season is over and the Blue Pony harriers had an extra week to prepare for the Central A divisional race on Saturday at Lindley Park in Bozeman. The Belgrade Panthers are the host team, welcoming in the Ponies, as well as the Lewistown Golden Eagles, Livingston Rangers, and Browning Indians.
Typically the Central A is packed with running talent, and the same should be true this year. But with some extra time to prepare, the Ponies are looking to be amongst those top finishers.
"This extra week just gave us more time to work on what we have been working on all season," Havre High head coach Darci Heninger said. "This week was not a hard week, we scaled back the workouts because we didn't want tire the kids out. We did some track workouts for speed, and some long runs, but this week was easier for us. The kids just need to be focused and run the best that they can, they just need to focus on the first and last mile. I have told that I know it is hard at the beginning because they want to go out fast, but they have to focus on that because when they go to finish they won' have anything left."
And if a team knows how to continually get better, it is the Ponies. They earned personal bests each and every week from the varsity runners, and should be peaking at the right time. And with a trip to the state meet on the line, the Ponies know another weekend with top times could be necessary to performing at the next level.
The HHS varsity boys include Elijah David, Sundance Lodge, Brandon Robertson, Brock Ross, Dylan Stewart, Ethan Smith and Cameron Knapton. David and Lodge have led the team all season long, but Robertson and Ross aren't' too far behind. But if Stewart, Smith and Knapton can continue to draw closer and closer to the top of the pack, the Ponies should find themselves battling for a top spot on Saturday.
And for the HHS girls, their lineup will include Haley Ohm, Morgan Mazurkiewicz, Rachel David, McKenna Barkus and Darlena Bradley. But the Ponies also welcome back Kiana Robertson and Peyton Filius to the varsity lineup, as they have both missed several weeks due to injury. The HHS girls could very well return home with a conference title as they have had a standout pack time all season long, and will only get better with the return of Filius and Robertson.
"I think our boys could do pretty good at divisionals and state as long as they just continue to work how they have been," Heninger said. "And on the girl's side, it is going to be very competitive for a top spot, and we are excited to have Kiana Robertson and Peyton Filius back and running. But it is going to be a competitive weekend for both our boys and girls teams. All of the girl's teams have gone back and forth all year long, so it is hard to say who will finish first. It just depends and varies from week to week, but I think our girls will run very well and be right there in it."
The Blue Pony girls have ran very well at the 7-on-7 in Missoula two weeks ago, and finished in the top three in team standings several times this season. And with no clear-cut favorite on the girl's side of things, the Ponies could make a statement this weekend and grab that No. 1 finish.
Saturday, the Blue Pony cross country teams will run in Bozeman in the Central A divisional cross country meet. Havre travels to the Class A state meet Oct. 26 at the UM Golf Course in Missoula.