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Havre's Aaegson runs down a gold medal

Blue Pony Ivar Aageson wins the Class A 300-meter hurdles as part of a big two days in Laurel

 

406 Sports

Havre High senior Ivar Aageson, left, leads the pack during the boys Class A 300-meter hurdles final last Saturday at the Class A state track meet in Laurel. Aageson has been a stalwart for the Blue Pony track team the last four years, but this was his first season running the hurdles, and yet, the hard work pad off with his state championship performance Saturday. Aageson also placed in two more events for the HHS boys.

Ivar Aageson knew what it felt like to place at state track. But he didn't know what it felt like to be a state champion. That is until, the 300-meter hurdles Saturday in Laurel.

At the Class A state track meet, Aageson, in his final competition as a Havre Blue Pony, put the finishing touch on an extraordinary career, winning the race with a time of 39.92, edging out Kaden Stradley of Miles City and Lee Walburn of Whitefish, who both finished at 39.95, three-hundredths of a second behind Aageson, who finally claimed that elusive individual state championship.

"The day before I was kind of bummed because I was hoping to win the 400," Aageson said. "It came down to the end and I ending up getting third. So Saturday, I was really hoping to win one and the 300 hurdles was as open as the 400, so it felt good."

Aageson, who only picked up the hurdles this season, gave a lot of credit to Havre High assistant coach Justin Morse, who helped him transition to the event and eventually win a state championship in his first season doing the hurdles.

"I have always known how to run," Aageson said. "But I didn't really know how to do the hurdles. But coach (Justin) Morse worked with me slowly and slowly and when state came around, I finally looked like I knew how to hurdle a little bit. It was also kind of cool to win, since I hadn't run them before this season."

"No doubt about it, it's an incredible achievement," HHS head coach John Ita said of Aageson winning the 300 hurdles in his first year in the event. "But that says a lot about Ivar. Through the whole season, he worked really hard. He came to us in good condition because of football and basketball and he is just an athletic kid. He would stay extra after practice to work with coach Morse on those hurdles. He also knew that would be one of his best chances to win a state championship because not a lot of people want to do those 300 hurdles because they hurt. So he had his best chance in the 400 and the 300 and he knew that."

Before the state meet, Aageson had to be feeling good, especially with the way he performed at the Eastern A Divisional the weekend prior to state. He scored 27 points, but failed to win any events. Then, on the first day at state, the Havre senior finished a close third in the 400 and also got fifth in the long jump. That left him one good shot to win a state title and that was in the 300 hurdles.

"I was getting tired of finishing in second and third place," Aageson said. "So I just really wanted to see if I could do it in the 300 hurdles and it worked out. I'll never forget what that feeling was like."

Turns out, it was a memorable moment for the Havre High coaching staff, too.

"I wish that I could say that we were in the stands," Ita said. "It was a celebration in the little kids playground area and we were just around over there. People probably thought that we were crazy. But we were very happy for him. It was quite an achievement."

There truly is nothing like winning a state championship, but according to Ita, he will remember Aageson's senior year for much more than that.

"We were blessed that Ivar came out this year," Ita said. "We could not have asked for a better senior leader than him. He was really encouraging to all the other kids, always trying to help them and ask them how they did. I think he inspired a lot of the younger kids. He was just tremendous all year long and we couldn't have asked for anything more from him."

At the beginning of the season, Ita said that Aageson was the "real deal" and at the Class A state track meet, Aageson made sure those words rang true. And now, for the rest of his life, he will be remembered as a state champion.

"I don't think that it could have ended any better than the way that it did," Aageson said. "It's something that I am going to remember for the rest of my life."

 

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