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HHS thinclads aim to shine this spring Chris Peterson

Havre Daily News cpeterson@havredailynews.com Over the last few years, the Havre High track teams have been building and developing and this season, head coach John Ita is hoping to see many of his athletes take the next step. Last season, the Blue Ponies had one such athlete, Ivar Aageson, do just that. Aageson, who started his career as a sprinter and jumper, moved over to the hurdles and eventually won the Class A state championship in the 300 hurdles and while he has since graduated, there are a number of others, both boys and girls, who will be looking to make a big leap forward like that in 2019. “We got 74 kids out so we are really excited about that,” HHS head coach John Ita said. Some of the best candidates to turn into consistent point-getters are on the girls team as a number of athletes return after having competed at state the past couple of years, including Sarah Faber, Jessa Chvilicek and Katie Wirtzberger. Wirtzberger made it to the Class A state meet in both the 200 and the 400, finishing in the top five in both events at the Eastern A Divisional. Chvilicek has also qualified for state multiple times in the 100-meter dash and did so last season after taking eighth at divisionals. She also is a jumper and will look to build on a strong season in the high jump, where she competes with Faber, who had made multiple appearances at state in the event. Another name to watch this season for the Havre girls is going to be sophomore Loy Waid, who finished second at divisionals in the 400-meter dash and also helped the Ponies long relay (1,600 meters) team qualify for state. The long-striding sophomore isn’t the only promising athlete in her class though as distance runner Britton Paulson is someone else in line for a big step up in productivity. Kadia Miller, an

All-State runner in cross country, could also have a big impact on the distance events for HHS. In the throwing events, the Havre girls return Abbey Morse, who made it to state in the javelin last season, as well as Jocelyn Ketchum who threw the discus and shot put in 2018. “I think our girls are going to be really salty this year,” Ita said. “I think that we are going to be especially strong with our relays. We were already pretty talented there and then we got Kadia Miller from cross country and she is going to be an immediate contributor for us in the distance races, and I think she can really help in the relay, too. We could put together a really strong time with her and Katie and Jessa.” The other girls who will be part of the team are Rene Brown, Madison Columbus, Jolie Coyne, Sadie Filius, Emma Gillen, Jenna Golie, Devyn Huebsch, Alexis Isaacson, Katherine Keith, Kyndall Keller, Sophie Kirkpatrick, Grace Loftus, Ellycia Moore, Marissa Ratliff, Myranda Sherman, McKayla Solomon, Savannah Stewart and Megan Whitford. As far as the boys team is concerned, Havre will have just a couple of individuals returning who qualified for state a season ago as thrower Dylan Chvilicek will be back along with distance runner Andrew Boucher. Despite not qualifying a ton of individuals for state last season, the Ponies boast a number of seniors, such as sprinter Brandon Shaw and distance runners Noah Azure and Jakob Keller who have a wealth of experience. Junior Mason Rismon is another skilled athlete though his sophomore season saw him get hindered by injuries. Ita will also have some raw talent to work with All-State basketball standout Kellen Detrick, as well as football standouts Mason Dionne and Orion Thivierge. “We have some athletes,” Ita said. “But being decent at football or basketball is different than coming out and being a good track athlete. But we

have some kids that have really worked hard in the offseason. Noah Azure and Dylan Young have been running constantly, and Brandon Shaw is another one that has worked really hard and I hope he has a great year. The one thing I have been really pleased with all around has been our senior leadership; that has been outstanding.” The rest of the boys roster includes Jerzy Borowieck, Joey Bryd, Ethan Durward, Preston Glock, Dylan Goodman, Dylan Hanson, Wyatt Hanson, Kasee Henderson, Nathan Howard, Adam Ketchum, Joah Kinsella, Nolan Lotton, Preston Lowen, Casey Mariani, Noah Molitor, Zachary Monk, Nicholas Nelson, Brock Nystrom, Carter Nystrom, Jeremiah Parker, Garrett Parsons, Lane Paulson, Cameron Pleninger, Joaquin Sanchez, Tysen Sangrey, Magnus Steckel, Tyler Sunchild, Monty Terkildsen and Julian Top SKy. With limited time on the track to practice due to the weather and with one meet already canceled (Lewistown, April 6) the spring has already been unusual for the Ponies but things will get back to normal. Havre will be in action in Havre this week, competing in the Cal Wearley Invitational hosted at the Havre Middle School track by North Star High School. Other notable events on the schedule for Havre include the Havre Lions track meet which will be in Havre April 13, as well as the annual Glasgow Top 10 meet which is set for April 30. The Ponies will also host the Havre Invitational May 4, before traveling to Belgrade for the Eastern A Divisional meet May 17-18. Class A state track will be May 24-25. Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Havre High's Noah Azure is part of a large contingent of Blue Pony athletes out for track and field this spring. The Ponies are once again led by longtime head coach John Ita.


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Havre

DAILY NEWS

Spring 2019

www.havredailynews.com

Blue Ponies ready to play ball Chris Peterson

Havre Daily News cpeterson@havredailynews.com The 2018 season was one of clear progression for the Havre High softball team, as the Blue Ponies not only made it back to state but also reached the Central A divisional championship game. For years, Havre was seemingly always behind both Belgrade and Lewistown in the pecking order of Central A softball. But last season, the Blue Ponies conquered the Eagles twice and, despite some key losses, HHS returns a ton of young talent, which is ready to make another run. A critical part of any softball team’s success is pitching and that’s one area where the Ponies are blessed to have some experience back from last season. While the top starting pitcher from last year, Alex Barkus, has graduated, head coach Tony Vigliotti can still turn to both senior Lauren Kato and junior Sam Oliver, who have previous starting experience. “We are going to go with Sam and Lauren,” Vigliotti said. “Ever since basketball has been over they have been working hard, and I think they are going to be really good for us this year.” Obviously, replacing Barkus, who was reliable on the mound and in the batting order for the Ponies will be essential, yet another key figure who is gone is power hitter Camryn Huston. However, the roster is far from baren as HHS returns two FirstTeam All-Conference performers from last season in Oliver and Kinzee Peterson, who was also the Ponies only selection on the Class A All-State team. Peterson, a catcher, will be the big bat in the middle of the lineup for the Ponies this season and her ability to drive in runs will be crucial for run production. Last season, Peterson hit a clutch three-run home run in the Ponies’ first win over Lewistown, and she was among the team leaders last season in home runs, extra-base hits and RBIs. Oliver is also exceptional at the plate, yet her biggest contribution might be on defense. When she’s not on the mound, the junior is playing shortstop, and last season, she excelled in that role for the Ponies, which helped her earned All-Conference honors in the Central A. She may be required to do more on the mound this season, but either way, Oliver is still a key piece to the puzzle. The other players who return after receiving All-Conference honors are Sydney Wilting and Janae Boles. Wilting put together a spectacular freshman season and knocked out a key home run at divisionals, which helped Havre clinch a state tournament berth. She and Boles were both key fixtures in the batting order and each was near the top with Boles leading off, generally followed by Wilting. Both players are known for getting on base and have the ability to test defenses with their baserunning skills and speed after they get on. That was a huge part of how Havre managed to score runs and it will be part of the approach under Vigliotti once again in 2019. “We have just about everybody back,” Vigliotti said. “So I think we have the potential to be a really good offensive team. But it’s going to be about doing a lot of the same things we did last year, which is getting on base, moving runners over, sacrificing and getting those runs in. We need to do those things again.” Another key focus for the Ponies will be defense and just like in the batting order, Vigliotti re-

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Havre High senior Lauren Kato takes a swing during a Central A softball game last spring in Havre. Kato and the Blue Ponies are back for the 2019 season and are looking to build on last year's run to the Class A state tournament. turns a number of veterans such as Peyton Brown, Boles, Wilting, Kato and Jera Verploegen, as well as others like Mia Olson and Katelyn Maloughney. Wilting will play center field while Boles will also be in the outfield. Brown will be at second base again, with Oliver at short when she’s not on the mound. Kato will also play third when she doesn’t pitch and Vigliotti said, right now, Verploegen is

among a few players getting reps at first base. Peterson will be behind the plate. “We need to throw strikes and get the ball in play and then make outs,” Vigliotti said. “That’s a big part of playing good softball is playing good defense and we should be pretty solid defensively with a lot of kids back.” Of course, the weather has had an adverse effect on the softball team once again and it has led to

some delays in getting onto the practice field as well as some postponements on the schedule. Havre was supposed to head to Great Falls this weekend for the Great Falls Jamboree, however, it was canceled. The Ponies April 6 game that was supposed to take place in Lewistown is being scheduled for a later date. With the first game against Lewistown postponed, that means Havre could open Central

A conference play April 19 with a doubleheader against Belgrade at the Sixth Avenue Memorial Field. The Ponies will also play a double dip at Livingston April 27 as well as hosting Lewistown April 22. The other game is against Lewistown to be determined. Outside of this weekend, Havre will be back on the field April 12-13 at the Lewistown Invitational in the final game

action before the start of conference play. In addition to the Central A schedule, Havre also has a home-and-home scheduled against Glasgow, while the Ponies will also the Havre Invitational May 4. After hosting divisionals last season, the Ponies will head to Lewistown for the Central A tournament May 18. The Class A state tournament will be held in Polson May 23-25.


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Havre

DAILY NEWS

Spring 2019

www.havredailynews.com

District 9C loaded with top track and field teams

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Above: Turner's Cody Welsh, right, is the defending Class C state hurdles champion and is one of many top track and field athletes returning to the District 9C this season. Below: Fort Benton's Leah Gannon is part of a loaded Longhorn girls track team that will contend for the Class C state championship again this season.

Chris Peterson

Havre Daily News cpeterson@havredailynews.com While the Hi-Line is fresh off an exciting and compelling basketball season for local teams, the excitement won’t be ending anytime soon, not with all the track standouts in the District 9C. When it comes the 9C girls, no team is deeper or more talented than the Fort Benton Longhorns, who took home the Class C state championship back in 2017, only to fall 3.5 points short of winning back-to-back state titles last May. The good news for the Longhorns, though, is that many of their top performers from last season are going to be back, including a majority of runners from both the relay teams that won state titles in Class C last season in the 400 and 1,600-meter relay races. Leah Gannon ran for both of those teams and also had a really strong individual showing at state last season, finishing third in the 300, as well as fifth in the 800 and the long jump. Abby Clark is another name to watch. She was a state champion on the short relay team and also placed in three separate events herself, third in the 300 hurdles, fifth in the 100 hurdles and sixth in the high jump. McKenzie Clark and Nicole Axtman, who were each on the long relay team that won state, also placed in their own events as Clark was fifth in the pole vault and Axtman was fourth in the triple jump. Fort Benton didn’t win the

Class C state championship last season, but the Longhorns still brought home hardware in the 9C and Northern C, winning the district and divisional crowns with relative ease. They should be favored to do so again, but one team that may be able to challenge in the district is Chinook, which boasts Megan Molyneaux, who was third in the 200 and sixth in the 100 last season at state. She also led a relay team that found the podium in what has proven to be a really productive career up to this point. Fort Benton will be the heavy favorite on the girls side of things but when it comes to the boys 9C, there will be a number of teams hoping to knock North Star off its perch. Thanks to a slew of stellar athletes, including Dylan and Devon Miller, who are now graduated, the Knights won their fifth straight 9C district title last season in addition to winning the Northern C Divisional for the first time. Of course, head coach Brian Campbell knows a thing or two about winning district titles so unseating the Knights won’t be easy, especially because Caden Rettig will still be around to compete in sprints, jumps and the pole vault. Fort Benton should also have a strong team with Garrett Diekhans and a number of impressive athletes, along with Chinook, who has one of the best throwers in Class C in Cord Schneider. However, the biggest local name in track, at least when it comes to male athletes is Cody Welsh, who is back for his se-

nior season after winning the state title in the 300-meter hurdles last season in Great Falls. Welsh won with a time of 40.87 and also finished fourth in the 110 hurdles as Turner finished fourth overall as a team. Eddie Harmon, who won a total of three individual state titles

for the Tornadoes, is no longer around, but with Welsh and Jack Harmon on the rise, Turner will be a force to be reckoned with again in the 9C. Even though it seemed that weather could impact the start of track season, warm temperatures in the last two weeks have

dramatically altered that prognosis and North Star, as well as most other teams, will open their seasons this weekend. North Star is headed to Glasgow and then next Wednesday, the Knights will host the rest of the 9C and a number of teams from along the Hi-Line in the annual

Cal Wearley Invitational. The Fort Benton girls and North Star boys will defend their district titles at the 9C track meet in Havre May 8. The Northern C Divisional is May 16 in Great Falls and this year, the Class C state track meet will be in Laurel May 24-25.


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Havre

DAILY NEWS

Spring 2019

www.havredailynews.com

Talented Pony netters back on the court Chris Peterson

Havre Daily News cpeterson@havredailynews.com Spring is, at least in the air, and that means the highly successful Havre High boys and girls tennis teams are primed and ready for a new season. And it’s a season that, longtime head coach George Ferguson said he’s very excited for. “So excited,” Ferguson, who has coached 18 seasons and led the Blue Ponies to five team state titles said. “We have great kids, we have great numbers again this year, and we’ve already been working really hard. I think we have a group of boys and girls who have all the makings of being very successful this season, and, they’re just a really fun group to coach.” With 40 kids in the program, Ferguson is excited by the mix of experience and youth he has on his teams. The Blue Pony girls are certainly experienced this season with eight seniors returning, including the longtime doubles tandems of Marcee Murphy and Devyn Solomon, who went to state a year ago, as well as Teagan Fee and Tiffany Ralph. Also back is senior Kadyn Acor, and after three years in singles, Acor will switch to doubles, playing with her sister Cassidy, a junior, who has also been a standout singles player the last two seasons. McKenzie Tommerup is also back, as is Brynn Nault, and both are expected to lead the Ponies in singles, after Havre graduated three-year No. 1 singles player Paige Nelson, while Kassidy Compton returns to the program after missing last year with a knee injury. “That group of seniors, they’ve been playing tennis for a really long time,” Ferguson said. “And with those girls, and Cassidy Acor, we have a ton of experience, and it gives us experience in both doubles and singles. That group has been really dedicated over the years, and they’ll certainly lead what should be a really strong girls team this year.” Havre also has plenty of younger prospects in the mix, too. Sophomores Sylvia Wilting, Tamera O’Leary, Sydney Marchion and Kate Morehouse return for a second season and will be impactful players this season, while junior Angela Rhines is also back and has experience, too. Newcomers Talia Ralph, Grace Krantz, McKenzie Mangold, Destiny Hernandez and Sierra Hofland will give Havre depth and a look toward the future. “It’s a great group of girls,” Ferguson said. “It’s a great mix across the board, and we have a ton of talent, and a ton of potential on our girls team, and I think the sky’s the limit for them this year. I’m really excited to see what they can do this season.” Ferguson also noted that his Pony girls team should be a top contender for the Central A title this season — something the Ponies haven’t won since 2014. Meanwhile, the HHS boys will be chasing a Central A trophy, too, but the Ponies are familiar in that role, having won divisional title in 22 of the last 23 seasons, including last year. The Havre boys also came within two points of winning a Class A team title a year ago, with the state champion doubles team of Trey Murphy and Kennedy McKay leading the way. But even though Havre graduated Murphy, McKay and several other key seniors, Ferguson said his boys team is primed

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Havre High's Marcee Murphy hits a backhand during a 2018 tennis tournament last spring. Murphy and the Blue Pony tennis teams have already begun their 2019 season, and both the Blue Pony boys and girls teams are loaded for success again this year.

for another trophy hunt this spring. “We’re going to be a younger team,” Ferguson said. “We only return one senior from last year’s divisional team. But we have talent; we have plenty of kids ready to step up and take their turn in this program. If they put in the work every day, there’s no reason why they can’t continue all of the traditions our boys program has built over the last two decades.” Tommy Brown, a four-year varsity standout for the Ponies, is the lone senior back from last year’s divisional roster, and after reaching the state tournament in singles, he’ll switch to doubles and likely pair with junior Tyrel Kjersem, who also reached the state tourney a year ago. Havre’s junior class also returns the doubles team of Jake Huston and Reese Bulkley, who came within a tiebreaker of reaching state themselves

last year. Juniors John South and Troy Powell also return and should vie for varsity spots, as should seniors Jack Johnsrud and Josiah Harrison. The Ponies also return sophomore Josh Warp, who, as a freshman, not only earned his way onto Havre’s varsity a year ago, but came within one win of reaching the state tournament. Warp will likely lead a young singles contingent that also includes sophomore Mick Chagnon, fresh off a state championship in wrestling this spring. “Our seniors through sophomores, they all actually have a ton of experience,” Ferguson said. “Some of them may not have the varsity-level experience, but whether you’re on varsity or JV, we practice the same way every day. So all of those guys have been through it, they know what our program is going to be about, and especially the younger guys, they’ve al-

ready taken huge steps forward from where they were when the season ended last year.” The Havre boys will also be youthful this spring because the Blue Ponies have a wealth of freshmen talent, many of whom will push for varsity time. Trenton Maloughney and Randy Tommerup come to the program with prior tennis experience, while Theron Peterson, Collin Miller, Josh Currie, Carter Leeds, Riley Long Knife, Kya Lodge Pole and Marion Bell are all showing a ton of promise in their first year in the program. “Same as with the girls, I’m really excited about our newcomers on the boys team,” Ferguson said. “There’s a lot of talent, a lot of athleticism, a lot of potential there, and they’re really embracing tennis quickly, and that’s what we want to see. We want them to get out there, get the bug early and take it from there, and that’s happen-

ing with this group of freshmen we have this season. It’s really exciting.” And exciting is the word Ferguson chooses to describe not only his team, but the next two months, as Havre’s schedule includes the two-day Havre Invitational April 5-6, as well as tough trips to Lewistown (twice), the Cut Bank Class A Duals, the Glendive Invitational and the prestigious Helena Invitational, among others. Of course, everything Havre does over the next two months is in preparation for the Central A Divisional, which will be held in Lewistown May 16-17 and the Class A state tournament May 23-24. “It’s going to be a really fun year, mainly because these kids are awesome and so much fun to coach,” Ferguson said. “They’re all working hard, and we’re going to push them hard, we’re going to do the things that have made this program very

successful and so much fun to be a part of over the years. “As far as trophies and medals and things like that, I think these teams can achieve all of those things,” he continued. “I think the sky is the limit for these kids this season. We have a lot of really good tennis players in our program, and a lot of kids who are going to become really good tennis players, and I think they all can do anything they set their mind to. But I know for sure, these kids will work hard, they’ll give us their very best every single day, they’ll compete, and they’ll represent Havre High tennis and Havre High the right way, because they are great kids, and so much fun to work with. So, no matter what happens this season on the court, it’s going to be a blast for me, a blast for them, and at the end of it all, they’re going to be able to look back on it all and know they had a great season.”

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