Havre Daily News
All of the hard work and preparation comes down to this weekend for the Havre High track teams, as they get ready to compete in the 2006 Central A Divisional track meet beginning today in Belgrade.
Both the HHS boys and the Havre High girls teams have chances to place, but it is not going to come easy. In fact, it should be a dogfight for either team to end up finishing in the top three overall.
“Well, I think that the boys side is completely wide open,” HHS head coach Mark West said. “There are some good teams like Lewistown and Belgrade, but in all reality, it is going to be up in the air, and hopefully our boys can find a way to sneak into the top two or three.”
Lewistown is probably the favorite for the event because of standout athlete Evan Stokken. Stokken competes in the 110 hurdles, the 300 hurdles, the long jump, the triple jump and the pole vault, and he is outstanding in each event. He will be the favorite to win both of the hurdles events as well as both of jumping events he competes in and he should also place in the pole vault.
Browning also has an athlete who should place in a number of events in Roger Mad Plume. Mad Plume competes in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes, as well as the long jump and the triple jump. He could rack up some big points for the Indians.
“Lewistown has a guy like Stokken, who is going to go out and probably win a few events and surely place in five, so that makes it tough on us,” Evans said. “Browning also has a very talented kid in Roger Mad Plume and he should do well in the sprints. And hopefully he can steal some points away from Stokken in the jumps, because that would really help up us out.”
Havre does not have a star athlete who is going to rack up a ton of points on the boys side, but it does have probably more depth than any other team that will be competing. And coach Mark West hopes that will be to his advantage.
“We are bringing a lot of kids to divisionals, and hopefully we can find a way to place them all, that is our goal,” West said. “Our boys team doesn't have a dominating athlete, but we do have some very good athletes. And so hopefully we will be able to outnumber the other teams with a lot of third-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place finishes.”
If the boys are going to come away from divisionals with a trophy they are going to have to get good efforts from Robert Brooks in the mile and the two-mile, Jason Mudrow in the hurdles, Cody McLean in the pole vault, Kyle Rummel, Kyle Finneman and Derek Verploegen in the sprinting events, and Paul Jensen in the throwing events.
On the girls side, things are not quite as wide open as with the boys. Coming into the weekend Belgrade is the clear favorite and it appears that everyone else will be fighting it out for second and third.
“Belgrade is going to be the team to beat, no question about it,” West said. “They are a very talented team and it is going to be tough to overcome them. Then there are a lot of other good teams such as Lewistown, Livingston and Havre that will be competing for second and third. It's possible that someone could knock off Belgrade, but I would think that it would be highly unlikely.”
The girls team will be relying on a little more star power than the boy's team, with Lena Suek and Carmen Neuens leading the way for the Ponies. Suek will be competing in the discus, javelin and the shot put, while Neuens will compete in the long jump, triple jump, high jump and will also be a part of the Ponies 400-meter relay team.
“Hopefully, both Lena and Carmen will have big days for us on this weekend,” West said. “We are going to need both of those girls to perform well and place pretty high in the events that they compete in for us to have a chance.”
The Ponies also bring a number of other athletes who have good chances to place and make it to the state A track meet including, sprinters Kelsey and Cammie West, hurdlers Tric Samson and Hannah Wells, distance runner Meredith Hanson as well as Casea Pollington, who competes in the high jump and the pole vault. Mandy Nystrom, who is a sprinter and is a part of the long relay team.
“Our biggest advantage is going to be our numbers,” West said. “We are taking 23 kids to the meet and we are hoping that we have 23 kids who place. That is the only way that we are going to be able to bring home a trophy for either the boys or the girls. We have to outnumber the competition by having almost all or most of the kids that we bring place. If we can do that, I think that both of our teams have a fairly good chance of finishing in the top three, and hopefully we can qualify quite a few kids for the state meet. It is going to an interesting and challenging weekend, so we will just have to wait and see what happens.”
The 2006 Central A Divisional track meet gets under way Friday afternoon and continues through Saturday afternoon in Belgrade.