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Reaching Over The Bar is a Family Tradition

Blue Pony Loni Waid carrying on a family pole vaulting legacy


Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Havre High's Loni Waid is one of the top pole vaulters in Class A this season. And it's no wonder, considering how vaulting has been a tradition in her family. Waid and the Blue Pony track teams will compete at the Class A state meet later this week in Laurel.

It takes a lot of different skills and attributes to be good, or even great at pole vaulting. But apparently, having the last name Waid is also a contributing factor.

The Waid family has a long history of athletic success at Havre High, in a number of different sports. However, one that seems to run in the family is the pole vault and that tradition is being carried on by Loni Waid, a senior, who will take part in her final Class A state meet this weekend in Laurel.

Compared to most high school careers, Loni Waid would stack up pretty well. She has placed at divisionals multiple times, she has won track meets and she qualified for state as a freshman and followed it up with three more appearances, the last of which was locked up at the Eastern A Divisionals last weekend, where Waid jumped 9-0 to get seventh and a spot at state this weekend.

"It's exciting," Waid said of the pole vault. "It's fun. Watching my brother and my sister is kind of what got me into it."

There is no doubt that Waid was influenced by her older siblings. Layne Waid, a former multi-sport athlete at Havre High, hit his high mark in the pole vault with a third-place finish at the Class A state meet. Lacey Waid, a collegiate athlete in basketball and track, also followed that up with an impressive career of her own, including a second-place showing her senior season. She earned her runner-up finish with a height of 10-6, a number she has surpassed in college Dickinson State, where she just won a North Star Athletic Conference championship.

"I've gotten to coach them all," Havre High assistant track coach Andy Smith said. "It takes a lot of things to be a good. You have to be able to jump. You also have to have the strength to get yourself up and you also have to be athletic enough to run down there. Having some height can be an advantage because you can use the bigger pole, but you can also get an advantage if you are little smaller, too."

In terms of her senior season, it's gone well for Loni Waid, who has steadily improved on her personal record and tied it this last weekend in Glendive with a 9-0 at the Eastern A Divisional. That was good enough to get her seventh place, but in 2017, Waid earned a spot on the podium with a jump of 8-0. According to Smith, that shows just how competitive things have gotten in 2018.

"Last year, she did eight feet and got sixth at divisionals," Smith said. "And her going nine feet, that would have gotten her fourth place in the Western A. There are just some really good pole vaulters in the East. It's just a really tough year."

That being said, Waid is hoping for a breakthrough performance at state this weekend, in what will be her final track meet as a Blue Pony. Smith said if Waid can get to 9-6, she should have a good chance of getting on the podium.

"9-6 always seems to find a way to get there," Smith said, "so I think if she was able to do that, she would have a good chance to sneak in."

Every athlete wants to PR at the state tournament and in the case of Waid, it will probably be required if she wants to finish off her high school career with a medal. In her first three trips to state, she has been competitive, and has finished 15th, 13th and 10th. Last year was her best finish with a height of 8-6. This time around, she is hoping to add around a foot or so.

"I just want to give it my all," Waid said. "I want to reach a new height and just give it my best shot. I am trying to get 9-6, but I really want to get 10-0. If I did that, I would probably place top six."

The Class A state meet will be something special to the Waid's for another reason and that's because they get to see Loy Waid, a freshman run in the 400, as well as Loni taking part in the pole vault for the final time. Loy Waid took second at the Eastern A Divisional to qualify for state in her first season running track for the Ponies.

"It's been really fun getting to spend this season together," Loni Waid said. "I will watch her run and she will watch me."

While the youngest Waid has got her track career off to a great start, it looks as though the long line of pole vaulters will end with Loni.

"I think that she might be too tall," Loni Waid said of her younger sister. "She is a lot taller than I am."

If Loy Waid doesn't pick up the pole vault down the road, than the run will end with Loni, who is hoping to hear her family name read aloud in the state pole vault one last time. She knows what it will take to get there and keeping her family heritage in mind, it wouldn't be a huge shock if she found a way. It only takes one attempt, after all, to achieve glory.


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