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Havre High harriers look to make strides in Malta

 

September 6, 2018

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Cameron Pleninger and the Havre High boys and girls cross country teams are into their second week of the 2018 season. Saturday, the Blue Ponies will head to Malta for the annual Malta Invitational.

After testing themselves as individuals at the Cut Bank Time Trials, both Havre High cross country teams will face their first team test this Saturday at the Malta Invitational.

The meet will also be the first time that Kadia Miller, an All-State performer a season ago for the Blue Pony girls, will compete after not having enough practices to run in Cut Bank last Friday.

"She has enough practices now and she's looking great," HHS head coach Josh Holt said. "She looks like she is in great shape, and I think that she will do really well."

Miller and the Pony girls did well in Malta last season, too. Miller finished second overall in the meet, running a 21:06 to finish runner-up to L'Tia Lawrence of Harlem. However, her effort spurned a strong showing by the entire Havre girls team, which won the meet over second-place Glasgow.

Yet, the Pony girls weren't alone in their success last season in Malta. The HHS boys also finished second at the meet and senior Jakob Keller, the No. 1 runner, placed 10th last season. He will lead a varsity roster that also includes Dylan Young, Noah Azure, Cameron Pleninger, Kendall Pleninger, Joshua Williams and Sidney Moffitt.

Joining Miller in the Ponies' quest to repeat as team champions in Malta will be Hannah Haslem, Tamera O'Leary, Emma Gillen, Grace Loftus, Lily Tally and Katie Wirtzberger.

"We will mostly be competing against teams from the Hi-Line," Holt said. "We will see some of the smaller schools, but we will still see some good competition. I also really like the course there, it's a fast course."

Another benefit of running in Malta is that all of Holt's junior varsity runners will get to compete alongside the varsity teams, getting the chance to earn some valuable experience.

"The varsity and junior varsity are separated when it comes to results and team scores," Holt said, "but they are all running together. So it's really good for those JV kids to see where they stand with those varsity runners."

So far, Holt said things have been looking good but this weekend, he wants to have his runners push themselves a little more on a course that should yield good times.

"I am looking for a little faster pace," Holt said. "They have it in them. I am looking for a nice draft on the second mile out of them. We have quite a few kids that were a little slower on the second mile than they should have been. Some of it was inexperience and some of it was the fact that it was the start of the year. But that is what I would like to see, a little stronger and a little faster."

The Malta Invitational is scheduled to start Saturday at 10 a.m.

 

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