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Blue Pony thinclads seek hardware at Eastern A

Athletes must finish in the top 10 to advance to state track


Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Havre High junior Katie Wirtzberger crosses the finish line in a track meet that took place earlier this season in Havre. Wirtzberger and both Blue Pony track teams will head to Belgrade Friday for the start of the Eastern A Divisional track meet. The Havre girls will be looking to take home a trophy at the meet for the first time.

The divisional track meet has always been critical for the Havre Blue Pony track teams, but this weekend at the Eastern A Divisional, Havre is taking an even more serious approach as the girls hope to contend for a team trophy.

In order to do that, Havre must finish among the top three teams in a deep and talented field down in Belgrade that includes Lewistown, Laurel, Sidney, Glendive, Miles City and Havre, all teams that are projected to score 18 points or more at the Class A state track meet by the website Montana Track.

The Eastern A meet, which starts Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. in Belgrade, will be the fourth installment of its kind and in addition to trying to bring home hardware, both Havre teams will try to put as many athletes into the top 10 as possible, which means an automatic entry into the Class A state track meet next weekend in Laurel. The meet resumes Saturday at 10 a.m.

"This is going to be a lot of fun," HHS head coach John Ita said. "Our girls have a chance to do really well there. Our super-division is very deep and so there are a lot of events that are going to be very competitive."

In order to win trophies at divisional and state track meets, teams generally try to be as balanced as possible when it comes to scoring points. Yet, when it comes to the Havre girls, many of the points will come in the running events. The HHS girls have strong teams in both the 400 and 1,600-meter relays, while the Ponies also have a bevy of sprinters capable of scoring points such as Jessa Chvilicek, Loy Waid, Grace Loftus and Katie Wirtzberger, who are each capable of placing.

"We had some injuries with Katie Wirtzberger," Ita said. "So we have been mostly running her in the relays and not in the individual 200 or the 400. But she is healthy now and she is capable of scoring points in those events. She could have a really good meet. Jessa Chvilicek has been injury free all year long, and Loy Waid is healthy and has been injury free, so our sprinters and our middle distance look pretty strong."

In the distance events, Havre will be counting on Kadia Miller and Hannah Haslem to run in the 800, 1,60 and 3,200, and they should each have a chance to qualify for state in all three races. Ita said in the throwing events that senior Abbey Morse would have the best chance, while jumpers like Sarah Faber, Chvilicek, Loftus and Devyn Huebsch would find some challenging opponents in the jumping events.

"The jumping events are just really competitive in our division," Ita said. "Faber and Chvilicek are both pre-qualified for state but we would like to see them place and get some points, but it's going to take a lot of clean jumps to do that."

Throughout the course of the season, Chvilicek and Waid have been the top point scorers for the Havre girls with over 100 total each. Sadie Filius isn't far behind, but after winning a number of 300 hurdles races early in the season, an injury has held her back. However, Ita said she was healthy enough to compete in Belgrade, but only in the 300 hurdles.

"She won't be doing the 100 hurdles," Ita said. "She just is so competitive and goes so hard to try and get up that she hurts herself and we don't want to see her do that."

The girls team could find itself in the thick of the team race, but when it comes to the Pony boys, trophy contention may still be down the road. Yet, the Ponies have a number of athletes looking to get to state and also score some points, starting with the 400-relay team that will be led by Andrew Boucher and Brandon Shaw.

Boucher is second on the team in total points to Rismon, who has won the javelin in a few different meets this season and should be in a position to qualify for state. Another thrower, Dylan Chvilicek, will be looking to get to state after qualifying last season.

Other individuals who could have a chance to reach the podium or at least the top 10 include Shaw in the 100, Preston Glock in the hurdles, Brock Nystrom in the pole vault and the jumps, as well as distance runners like Jakob Keller, Noah Azure and Dylan Young. Nolan Lotton and Orion Thivierge are other names to watch.

"This should be a really fun meet for the boys," Ita said. "I think we are taking down two really good relay teams that should have a good chance to PR. They are really working hard. Andrew Boucher should do well in all of the events, the relays, the 200 and the 400. We have some exciting jumpers. Overall, I just want the boys to go down there and have a really fun divisional meet because next year is going to get even better for them and the year after that will be even better yet."

The Eastern A track meet starts Friday at 3 p.m., with the second day to follow Saturday at 10 a.m. The top 10 finishers in each individual event will qualify for state.


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