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Despite the weather, Pony track teams made strides


Rebuilding a

program takes time. And even after first-year head coach of the Havre High

track program Trever VanCampen put his first complete season behind him, he, as

well as the rest Blue Pony squad are still in the beginning stages.

The Central A Blue Ponies are fresh out of

another track and field season. And while the young Havre High squad didn't

burst onto the scene with divisional or state hardware, it appears the Ponies

are right where they need to be as they continue to build towards the future, a

future that will hopefully put the Blue Ponies back in a seat of track and

field dominance.

"Being my first year there were new

expectations and different routines," VanCampen said. "Things were very different

for the veterans, but for the new kids coming in, they didn't know any

different. But the kids conformed to the new expectations and worked extremely

hard all season long. What was most impressive was the fact that the kids

continued to (record personal records) and improve every week. There wasn't a

week where we didn't see that improvement we were looking for. And for being

such a young team, and even a young coaching staff, we are very optimistic for

the future."

And even with the Ponies struggling with

weather, cancellations and injuries this season, things seemed to have gone all

right overall.

HHS battled some extremely tough talent

through the regular season, including Belgrade, CMR, Malta and Lewistown. There

is no doubt that the Ponies did some much needed growing up against such

talented teams, but weather and cancelations took quite a few opportunities

away from the Ponies as well. The state meet was only the seventh the meet the

Ponies got to compete in, a low amount of competition considering the Ponies

had 10 meets on their schedule not counting divisionals or state.

But with the poor spring weather and

cancelations came unwanted injury to key individuals. Throughout the season the

Ponies saw athletes like Corderro Strickland (sprints and jumps), Evan Flathers

(hurdles) go down to injury. And even late in the season the Ponies were

plagued as Mason Case struggled to compete at state with a pulled hamstring.

"The thing about weather and injuries is

that they seem to walk side by side," VanCampen said. "They affect everybody in

the state and that is out of our control. What we can control is the athletes'

performances and work ethic during practice, and I think our coaches were able

to maximize the talent that we had not injured. We really had to utilize the

good weather when we got it to maximize the kids' output."

The Blue Ponies did battle through their

share of rough patches, and that says a lot about how hard the athletes worked

this season.

They overcame a slow start and competed

well at the divisional meet. The HHS girls grabbed a No. 3 finish behind

Belgrade and Lewistown, while the HHS boys stepped up and finished in fifth.

And continuing to improve, the Ponies had

19 individuals qualify for the state meet. And while competing at state, HHS

saw almost every competitor record another personal best, while Jaye Ceynar and

Lacey Waid both placed in sixth place in the girls Pole Vault.

The whole objective was for the Ponies to

improve all season long, and they did just that. They took a solid group to

state and got two kids in the top six. And with the majority of the team

returning next season, the future should hold a lot more good news for the

Havre High track program.

Coming into the 2011 season, the Ponies

brought in just a handful of seniors on both the boys and girls teams. Athletes

like Kendall Murie, Kade Barsotti and Strickland on the boys side, and Paighton

Gilman, Mikell Kinsella and Brooke Jappe on the girls side will be missed, but

with such a high number or underclassman expected to return next season, the

Ponies shouldn't skip a beat as they continue to rebuild.

"I think the future is bright for Havre

High track," VanCampen said. "We took 19 athletes to state, which is a very

good foundation. We are expecting even more kids to perform and improve next

season, but having such a young squad and young coaching staff it just took

some time to gel together and figure out what worked for each individual. We

will have a solid core of our state team returning next year and that will be a

very solid foundation to continue to build a competitive team on. We are moving

forward and looking forward to the future."


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