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Blue Ponies ready for the final laps

Havre High takes to the water in Great Falls for the Montana State Swimming Championships this weekend

 

February 14, 2020

Colin Thompson

Havre High senior Jacob Miller will be a key leader for the Blue Pony boys team at this weekend's Montana State Swimming Championships in Great Falls.

This is what the Blue Ponies have been working for.

The Havre High swim team will hit the road one last time, heading to Great Falls once again for the biggest meet of the season. The Blue Ponies have worked hard all year they hope their efforts to hopefully take home some hardware.

Today and Saturday, Havre will compete in the Montana State Swimming Championships in the Great Falls. The competition in the Electric City will be another tough one for the Ponies, but they look to make some noise once more.

And HHS head coach Bill Kilgore is looking forward to the final meet of the season.

"This is going to be a tough meet with the very best swimmers in Montana competing for a state title," Kilgore said. "We haven't even seen Whitefish or Columbia Falls this year, but going off of their entry times, they are incredibly strong and fast. Billings Central has a ton of depth and speed as does Hardin. I've always stressed to the kids that they should have fun first and foremost, and always remember that they are competing against themselves every race, not the lane next to them. Our Blue Ponies will swim the very best that they can and swim with all of their hearts. The final results will be what they will be."

The state roster has been finalized for the boys and girls teams, as well. Each swimmer will compete in two events each throughout the weekend. The girls team is made up of 12 swimmers, while the boys team consists of eight.

For the Pony girls, there is junior Kobi Burchard, junior Morgan Flammond, junior Nina Flores, senior Willie LaSmith, junior Blakelee Lines, senior Katelyn Maloughney, junior Tori Messineo, junior Megan Miller, sophomore Aliviah Pratt, senior Hannah Pratt, senior Angela Rhines and senior Carsyn Vogel.

Burchard will compete in the 100 Fly and the 100 Breaststroke, Flammond in the 50 and 100 Freestyle, Flores in the 200 Free and 100 Breast, LaSmith in the 100 Free and 100 Breast, Lines in the 200 IM and 100 Free, Maloughney in the 50 Free and 100 Fly, Messineo in the 200 Free and 100 Backstroke, Megan Miller in the 200 IM and 100 Back, Aliviah Pratt in the 50 and 500 Free, Hannah Pratt in the 200 Free and 100 Back, Rhines in the 200 Free and 100 Breast and Vogel in the 50 and 100 Free.

The HHS boys team, which is the defending Class A state champions, is made up of junior Brigham Blackwell, sophomore Hiram Cammon, sophomore Wyatt Hagstrom, freshman Conner McKay, senior Jacob Miller, senior Troy Powell, freshman Carson Sandstrom and sophomore Trenton Varney.

Blackwell will compete in the 50 and 500 Free, Cammon in the 200 Free and 100 Fly, Hagstrom in the 200 IM and 100 Back, McKay in the 50 and 100 Free, Jacob Miller in the 100 Free and 100 Breast, Powell in the 50 Free and 100 Breast, Sandstrom in the 200 and 500 Free and Varney in the 50 Free and 100 Breast.

There will be a lot of standout swimmers over the weekend in their respective swims, but Kilgore is looking for another thing to stand out this weekend, too.

"I always hope for that one magical swim from a swimmer that will stay with them the rest of their lives," Kilgore said. "I hope they realize their potential on the biggest stage that this state has to offer, and to live in that moment. I hope they enjoy every single minute of this meet, and I hope that they enjoyed the season. More than anything though, I hope they are happy with their accomplishments and proud of how they reached those accomplishments."

The Montana State Swimming Championships operate a little differently from what Havre has experienced this season. All of the Class AA and A schools, the A schools being Havre, Hardin, Billings Central, Whitefish and Columbia Falls, will swim together in the preliminaries today, followed by the finals and consolation finals for Class AA and A on Saturday. The points are then added up for AA teams and A teams.

Colin Thompson

Havre's Kobi Burchard is one of many Blue Ponies who will have a shot at hardware at the state swim meet this weekend in Great Falls.

At the end of the day, it will be a difficult weekend for the Ponies, but the competition will be exciting, nonetheless. The selected swimmers will look to make some noise in Great Falls. The boys will aim for a first place finish like last years, while the girls have hopes of finding great success of their own. The team as a whole has worked hard to make it to state and they will give it their all.

In Kilgore's case, he's especially excited about a certain aspect at the state meet.

"I'm personally excited to see lots of smiling faces and great swims by all our kids," Kilgore said. "This is always an electricity-filled meet, and if you have never witnessed a close 400 Freestyle Relay championship final, I highly recommend coming down to Great Falls on Saturday. The energy throughout the building during finals is palpable, but that last race, especially if it's a close meet, is just unreal. I'm also excited for our seniors as they swim their last high school swim meet and represent the Blue Ponies one last time. That is always such a bittersweet moment."

The state swim meet runs today and Saturday at the Swarthout Fieldhouse Pool at Great Falls High.

 

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