Pony thinclads chasing Central A titles


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Daniel Horton Havre Daily News [email protected]

The Havre High boys and girls track teams survived yet another Montana spring. And with the seasons' ups and downs finally behind the Blue Ponies, they have the Central A Divisional meet in their sights. Today and Saturday the Ponies will be in Belgrade where the Browning Indians, Livingston Rangers, Belgrade Panthers, Lewistown Golden Eagles and Butte Central Maroons will join them for the Central A divisional meet. “This is what it's all about,” Havre High head coach Roger Larson said. “They (Ponies athletes) are just excited to finish off their year on top.” In competition in their division, the Ponies have only seen the Eagles this season. But the Ponies' preparation for this weekend is the same no matter whom they face. “It's their first look at us and it's our first look at them (Browning, Livingston, Belgrade and Butte Central),” Larson said. “It doesn't matter to me, it's nice to have a mindset of what they're going to do, but at the end of the day you can only control what you do. The kids just have to go out and do their own thing and not worry about anybody else.” Everything the Ponies have worked on and for will come into play this weekend. All the past practices and meets have just been preparation for this point, and they are fully prepared to lay it all on the line. And this weekends goals are simple, to put as many kids through to state as possible. “We are just going to give it our all,” Larson said. “If you don't go all out at these meets then there is really no point in even going out. And when it comes to divisionals kids can really surprise you. Hopefully 15 to 20 kids move on to state, but we will just have to wait and see what happens.” HHS had ample time to prepare for this weekend. It has been nearly two weeks since the Ponies have seen competition, and the nice weather has given them plenty of opportunities to get outside for practice. But in an attempt to keep the Ponies from getting burnt out, Larson has kept recent practices laid back. “We are looking real good,” Larson said. “We had a little break and got the kids out and just had some fun, nothing too serious. We were getting their minds off the daily grind of practice and focusing on the more fun aspects of it, the competing and camaraderie.” A year ago the Pony boys captured a second-place finish at the divisional meet, while the girls finished closer to the bottom of the pack. This year both teams are very much in the hunt for team titles. And to be successful this year, continuing to excel in what has been their bread and butter will be crucial. All season long the Ponies have found dominating success in the jumping events. Kaden Keto, Mike Hickman and Jack Teske have all jumped well this season and all placed at the Top 10 meet for the boys squad. And Sammy Evans, Sarah Blessum, Janelle Job and Karla Hellegaard have shown great success jumping for the Ponies on the girls side. But the Ponies also excel in other areas. The sprints have been good for the HHS boys with the likes of Ethan Flathers, Thomas Kline, Adam Briese and others, while John Perrodin has been one of the best hurdlers in the Central A all season. On the girls side, Kristina Lozano, Madison Ruff and Kasondra Dawson should also score plenty of points this weekend. “I am really expecting them to go out this Friday and Saturday and pop a couple good jumps,” Larson said. “Kind of set the bar high right off the bat.” The team title races should also be close in Belgrade, and both HHS teams should be right in the thick of things. On the boys side, Belgrade and Lewistown have the two deepest teams in the field, but Havre has the talent to stay with both squads. Depth will also play a key roll on the girls side, as the Panthers and Eagles have the most numbers. The Blue Ponies hit the road after nearly two weeks off for the biggest meet of the season to date. They will be in Belgrade Today and Saturday for the divisional meet, where they will hope to achieve their goals for success and state qualifiers. The top six athletes in each event will advance to the state meet May 29-30 in Butte. “I feel ready,” Larson said. “And after watching the kids, I think they feel ready and are excited to compete.”


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