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Blue Ponies gearing up on the track

Spring is back, and so is another prep track season. And weather permitting, or not, the Havre High boys and girls track teams must continue to prepare for another long season of action.

The Blue Pony athletes are about two weeks into their practice season, but there will be plenty of events soon to come.

Havre High senior Thurman Holdsclaw and the Blue Pony boys and girls track teams are set to open the season Thursday in Cut Bank.

The Central A Ponies will open the season Thursday when they will travel to the Cut Bank Time Trials. Last year the event was canceled due to weather. Cut Bank is a great starting point, but the Ponies also face a variety of talent in places like Lewistown, Belgrade, malta, Whitefish, Glasgow and Livingston. Home events include the North Star meet, as well as the Lions Invite and a dual meet against Great Falls in April. Divisionals will be in Livingston May 17-18, while state is in Laruel on May 24-25.

And with a chance to finally get out and compete just days away, head coach Trevor VanCampen and the rest of the Ponies are excited to get underway.

"I think this is one of the smallest teams we have had," VanCampen said. "But one of the most competitive as far as being able to go out and put up quality times, marks, and distances. I think the kids that we have are going to compete, and compete well. We have a really nice team with a good group of kids who have been working extremely hard. I think we are already further ahead now than we were last year as far as being a team."

The Pony roster houses about 50 kids this season, nearly the same as last season, but far lot less than the 75 kids who came out for track two seasons ago. But even with the lack of numbers, the Ponies bring back a lot of talented competitors.

Lacey Waid (pole vault) and Peyton Filius (800 and 1,600) highlight the returning girls, both competing at state last season. The boys return more state talent, as they also return Marc Klimas (distance), Thurman Holdsclaw (pole vault/triple jump), Zach Plum (pole vault/long jump), Thomas Gruber (pole vault), Matte Emge (pole vault), Gunnar Aageson (pole vault) and Kade Rismon (javelin).

Other key returners include Katie Christianson, Neya Bischoff and Corissa White, while newcomers like Keegan Kennelly, Kody Pribyl, Grant Pattison, Martha Stocker, Nate Rismon and Alec Drew are also expected to step up and have a big season. Their production will be key in filling the holes left by Sammy Evans, Mason Case, Ashlynn VanVoast, Joey DeVries, Trent Nystrom, Tyson Kultgen and Garrett Aguillard.

"We have leaders across the board," VanCampen said. "All of our returning athletes know the expectations and they are leading the way. They are showing the new and young kids how to do this, and we don't have any egos or any individual attitudes. It is nice, I am looking forward to seeing how we put everybody together.

"Our goal is to get as many kids to state as possible," VanCampen added. "I am looking forward to the start of the season, and I think the kids are ready to have a good time this season. We have a good schedule this year and I know everybody is excited to see what we can do at the state meet later on."

The Ponies strengths will come in the jumping, pole vault and distance running events, while the Ponies are still looking for some sprinters to emerge. The loss of speed from last season to this season will also cause the relay teams to struggle.

"We are going to be really thin on the relays and sprints," VanCampen said. "All four relays are going to be thin, so that just means the door is wide open to anybody willing to step up and compete."

The Cut Bank Time Trials is the next step for the Ponies in their young season. It will not only give the Ponies times and marks to work off of for the rest of the season, it will also give them a chance just to compete and start a season on time. And if HHS can escape injury free, they have a shot to do some good things this season.

"We want to get everybody on the track without injuries," VanCampen said. "I always worry about that early due to the weather and lack of practice, but if we can get out there and compete and come out healthy, we will be ahead of last year. I am just excited to get out there and see what we've got and to see what we can do."

Competition for the HHS track teams will begin on Thursday in Cut Bank.


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