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Havre track teams seek glory at state


Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

The Havre High track team posed for a photo this week ahead of the Class A state track meet in Laurel. The Blue Ponies will be sending 16 athletes total to the state meet under head coach John Ita and the 400-relay team comees in as a favorite to win state.

It has been an exciting season for the Havre High track teams and ahead of the Class A state meet this weekend in Laurel, head coach John Ita has one message for his team: Have fun.

"This has been an incredibly fun track season," Ita said. "This senior class has been tremendous to work with and the kids have just been great all year. They have all worked really hard and even the kids that didn't make it to state, most of them got PRs (personal records) and so for the kids that are going to state, my message is just to have fun and go do what you can do."

While Ita wants his athletes to relax and enjoy the state meet, when it comes to the girls team specifically, there are some serious state-title contenders. Most notable among the contenders for the Blue Ponies is the girls 400-meter relay team, a team that posted a time of 50.52 to win the Eastern A Divisional last weekend in Belgrade. Havre is projected to win the state title according to the website Montanatrack.com, however, Dillon and Corvallis are also well within striking distance with times of 50.58 and 50.65 respectively.

Yet, the team of Grace Loftus, Jessa Chvilicek, Katie Wirtzberger and Loy Waid comes in with the best time in all of Class A. Each of those runners has qualified to compete in other events at the state meet, highlighted by Waid, who will run the 200 and the 400, an event she won at divisionals. She is projected to score points in the 200 at state and the other Havre individual that is expected to score points is Chvilicek, who is projected to finish in the top six on both the high jump and the 100.

"A big key for Jessa and Loy is that they have been healthy all season," Ita said. "That has allowed them to train and really improve. Katie Wirtzberger, she just hasn't been healthy all season and she hasn't been able to train like Jessa or Loy. But she is healthy and Sadie Filius is healthy and if they are at their best, they could certainly surprise some people."

Wirtzberger is qualified to run in the 100, 200 and 400. For Filius, her strongest event in the 300 hurdles, which she has won in multiple track meets this season. She will also run the 200 and the 400. Filius is also part of the long-relay team that also consists of Chvilicek, Wirtzberger and Waid.

In addition to having strong numbers in the sprinting events, the Havre girls will also have athletes competing in the jumping and distance events. Chvilicek and senior Sarah Faber will each take part in the high jump; Loftus will compete in the long jump and Waid will take a shot in the triple jump. Kadia Miller and Hannah Haslem will each run in both the 1,600 and the 3,200. Emma Gillen will also take part in the 300 hurdles alongside Filius.

"Our jumpers, if they can do what they are capable of, can certainly go down there and place," Ita said. "But our main message to the kids is to go down and enjoy it. Have fun, compete hard and do the best you can. If that means winning the 400-relay than do that or if that means getting a PR in your first state meet."

As far as the Havre boys team is concerned, there are no events in which the Ponies are expected to score points, however, Mason Rismon in the javelin and Andrew Boucher in the 400 may have the best chance. The other individual competitors will be Nolan Lotton in the 400 and Brock Nystrom in the high jump.

The Pony boys will also compete in the both the 400 and 1,600 relays. The 400-relay team will be made up of Boucher, Brandon Shaw, Lotton and Nystrom. The team competing on 1,600 relay for HHS will be Boucher, Rismon, Lotton and Orion Thivierge.

The Class A state track meet will be in Laurel Friday and Saturday. The field events wil begin at 9 a.m. with the track events to start at 10:30 a.m. on both days.


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