In the first meet of the season, the game plan is simple for the Havre High boys and girls track teams. Team scores and the opposition are the furthest things from the Blue Ponies minds, as this weekend the Ponies take a selfish mindset and make things all about themselves.
After the Cut Bank Invite was canceled, the Central A Ponies will make their season debut in Lewistown Saturday.
And a couple of the conference rivals will also be in attendance, but HHS won’t pay much attention. The biggest source of competition should come from the Belgrade Panthers, Livingston Rangers and Lewistown Golden Eagles, but the young HHS squad still has some things to figure out before making the long haul down a season filled with tough competition.
“We will be more focused on ourselves this weekend,” Havre High head coach John Ita said. “We really want to survive this weekend with no injuries, and we just want to get times and marks for our kids. Over half of these kids, we have never seen compete before. Once we get through this weekend we can talk about the possibilities for the rest of the season.”
The Ponies have practiced through some nasty weather this spring, but if things stay nice through the weekend, the Ponies should have a pretty solid idea of where they stand.
Conditioning is still an issue as well, but will also be addressed in Lewistown. The goal is to fit kids into every event this year, spreading the Ponies’ talented athletes all around. And while they may have a handful of middle distance and distance runners on the squad, a lot of Blue Ponies may find themselves running races like the 400-meter on Saturday for the extra workout. Technique and form has been addressed in the practices working up to the opening weekend, but that is another to be addressed, as the Ponies look to cover all of their bases before getting too far into the schedule.
“Everybody has their personal thing they want to work on,” Ita said. “But we are using this meet and even the Cal Wearly to make sure we are taking care of conditioning. We need to see what kind of speed and endurance these kids have, and where we will really be behind the curve this weekend is the field events, especially the jumps. We haven’t jumped into sand yet this season because it is still frozen underneath.
“But I think the older kids are excited to see where they left off last season,” Ita added. “And seeing if they can pick right back up. This is a chance to see if they are close to where they left off or if they need more work.”
Competing this weekend will be returning standouts Peyton FIlius (distance), Haley Ohm (distance), Lacey Waid (pole vault), Martha Stocker (throws), Megan Erickson (middle distance), Rachel David (middle distance) and Corissa White (sprints) for the girls, as well as Thomas Gruber (pole vault), Gunnar Aageson (pole vault), Kade Rismon (throws), Nate Rismon (sprints) and John Faber (jumps) for the boys.
But also making up the HHS track team this season, and competing this weeknd will be freshmen Dakota Acor, Donatus Bautista, Emily Brurud, Samantha Huston, Nikolas Keller, Sarah Malone, James May, Cody Rennick, Naomi Terry, Marc Woronik and Meggie Zook; sophomores Zan Anderson, Austin Burnside, Luke Karnauskas, Thomas Keith, Cole Keller, Cameron Knapton, Brock Ross and Lucas Shaw; juniors Julie Kadrmas, Jaden Korb, Rocky Kuhr, Derek Matosich, Carlene Rennick, Tyres Rodarte, Noah Seigel, Dylan Stewart and Brauk Wood; and seniors Michael Antley, Alicia Borst, Kyle Duitsman, Zeena Fox, Tommas Perrone and Kelly Teske.
It will be a learning experience for the young Ponies, but they should also be able to compete with some solid marks and times the first weekend out. The Ponies will compete in Lewistown on Saturday.