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Cal Wearley kicks off local track season

 

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Kenidee Wolery and the North Star Knights are set to host the annual Cal Wearley Invitational track meet Wednesday morning at the Havre Middle School Track. The meet is always the first one of the season on the local track schedule and, once again, will feature nearly 30 teams, including Havre High, the entire District 9C, and an array of Class B and C schools.

Even though it was in doubt at times this spring, the annual Cal Wearley is going off as scheduled Wednesday in what feels like the unofficial start of the local track season.

The meet, which features teams from across the state of Montana and across classifications, will begin Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Havre Middle School track. The action will last until the afternoon as the Fort Benton girls and Fairfield boys will seek to defend their titles.

"The best thing is the wide range of competition," North Star head coach Brian Campbell said. "When you have 28 teams coming from three different classifications you are bound to get a wide range of competition. I always tell the kids that if you can place at the Wearley you can feel confident that you can advance to the biggest track meets."

At least 28 schools will be in attendance for the Cal Wearley and for some athletes, it will be their first time competing this season, while some others got started this past weekend at events like the Glasgow Invitational.

North Star, the host of the Cal Wearley, opened its season in Glasgow and got some positive results from individuals such as Caden Rettig, who was a key part of the Knights winning the 9C district track championship for the fifth straight year and the Northern C Divisional track championship for the first time in the program's history.

The Knights will be competing along with every other team from the District 9C and a number of other Class C schools, as well as a bunch of Class B schools like Malta, Fairfield, Glasgow and Conrad along with Havre of Class A.

The Blue Pony girls will come into the Cal Wearley fresh off a strong performance in Glasgow that saw Havre take the team title after finishing first in six different events. Havre will look to follow that up with another solid showing on its home track, even though it's technically not the host team.

One team that should push Havre in the team competition is Fort Benton. The Longhorns are the two-time defending champions of the Northern C and finished as the Class C runner-up at state after winning the state championship back in 2017,

The Longhorns feature a number of talented athletes including senior Leah Gannon, who is a sprinter, jumper and was part of two state championship relay teams last fall. Both Havre and Fort Benton have excellent relay teams and that race should be one of the most exciting of the day-long competition.

In addition to Gannon, Fort Benton has a number of other consistent point-getters such as Nicole Axtman, Aspen Giese, Abbey Clark and McKenzie Clark. The Ponies also have some standout performers such as Jessa Chvilicek, Katie Wirtzberger, Loy Waid, Grace Loftus and Sadie Filius. Chinook should also factor into the sprints and relay races thanks to the efforts of senior Megan Molyneaux, who placed at state in the 100- and 200-meter dashes last season.

"I expect the competition to be at the highest level, similar to every year," Campbell said. "We have lots of athletes that competed at the state track meets and they will thrive competing against each other. I feel that this meet is one that can kick off your season and give you a barometer on where you stand against the rest of the athletes in each event."

In the boys meet, one of the top local standouts in action will be Turner's Cody Welsh, who won the 300 hurdles last weekend in Glasgow, after capturing the Class C state title in the event last May. Welsh leads a Turner team that also features strong distance runner Jack Harmon, who took home an individual title in Glasgow running the 800.

Brad Cichosz of Harlem is another local name to watch in the distance events and he's coming off a strong showing. In the throwing events, Chinook's Cord Schneider is someone to watch along with throwers from Havre such as Casey Mariani, Mason Rismon and Dylan Chvilicek. Noah Azure and Andrew Boucher are also two runners who should stand out for the Pony boys along with senior Brandon Shaw.

The Cal Wearley is the first of many track meets being held at the Havre Middle School track this spring. The Havre Lions track meet will be April 13 followed by the Havre Invitational and the District 9C track meet next month.

 

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