Coming off of a couple good showings at the Malta Invitational track meet Tuesday, the Havre High boys and girls track and field teams are looking to continue on the upswing.
But the competition Saturday in Whitefish is going to be a lot stiffer than Tuesday’s. Saturday the Havre High Blue Ponies will compete in Whitefish ARM Invitational. There will be several Class AA teams in attendance, as well as plenty of Class A talent out of the west the Ponies can’t wait to see. Squads like Plains, Glacier, Flathead, Whitefish, Superior, Frenchtown, Bigfork, Polson, Columbia Falls, Thompson Falls, Cut Bank, Eureka and Libby are typically present at the annual meet, creating a very deep and talented pool of competitors.
“We are pretty excited for this weekend,” Havre High head coach John Ita said. “The competition is going to be very good. If you look at some of the best times and distances in the Class A, a lot of those are coming out of the Western A. Belgrade is also tough, but a lot of those best times and distances are out of the west. We should get a chance to go up against some really good competition on a fast track, so we will just have to wait and see what we can do too.”
HHS has also been competing very well lately. They have had several kids continually win events, like Lacey Waid in the pole vault, Haley Ohm in the 1,600 and 3,200, Ryne Antley in the javelin and Thomas Gruber in the pole vault. Both the boys and girls short and long relays have also done very well so far this season. If the Ponies can continue to lead on them, as well athletes like Peyton Filius (middle distance), Rachel David (middle distance), Megan Erickson (middle distance), Gunnar Aageson (pole vault), Naomi Terry (hurdles, sprints, jumps and middle distance) and Ceyara Plante (jumps), then both Pony squads should continue to find success this weekend as well.
But athletes like Mike Loftus and Kade Rismon continue to make the program stronger for coach Ita. Loftus, a freshman sprinter is also taking on more events like the relays and 400. Rismon is stepping outside of his comfort zone and taking to the track. Rismon, a senior, has been a thrower his entire career, but has stepped into a position to the help the Ponies pick up more points. Tuesday Rismon ran the 100 for the Ponies, and is stepping up and preparing to hopefully start running a leg of both relays for the HHS boys. Rismon should be a nice fit alongside Loftus, John Faber and Nate Rismon in the relays.
Kade Rimson will see what he can do on the track Saturday, as the rest of the Ponies also continue to compete. It doesn’t hurt that the Ponies are also coming off a good showing on a dirt track in Malta.
“The kids are coming along,” Ita said. “We do have some banged up bodies, and we need to get healthy, but we will use this meet to see exactly where we are at, and what we need to do to continue to get better. And we talked to Kade about doing some running for us, and he said ‘Hey, whatever I can do to help the team.’ He comes with a good foundation from varsity basketball, so we will see what he can do for us this weekend too.”
Overall, this should be an eye opening experience for all of the HHS athletes. If they can place in Whitefish, they could prove they are among the best in the state. And if they continue to turn in personal bests, they can also prove they are still improving, and could push for a top spot later in the season. Either way, coach Ita is excited to see his squad battle in Whitefish.
“I am really looking forward to this Whitefish meet," Ita said. "The last couple years I was an assistant coach, and when we went over there we could count on a couple kids to score points, but I think we will score more points than we have in quite a while. The competition is going to be incredible, so I don’t know if we will be in the top three, but we will compete. If we don’t score a lot of points, I know we will see a lot of personal bests. The kids are loving to compete right now.”
Saturday the Ponies are in Whitefish for the ARM Invitational.