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Polson girls are top Class A team at Archie Roe Invitational

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After winning both team titles at the Lake County Meet on Thursday, the Polson girls’ and boys’ track squads turned right around and tested themselves against some of the bigger schools in the West at Saturday’s Archie Roe Invitational Track and Field Meet.

The Archie Roe meet is large enough to split races into three levels of competition — varsity, novice and freshman. So, Polson spread its team across three different races and events to get a good measure of its athletes against 15 other schools.

The Polson girls finished as the top Class A team and was fourth overall with 61 points, just four points out of third, while the boys’ team finished 11th with 20 points.

Loni Havlovick led the Lady Pirates by winning two field events. Her discus throw of 121 feet, 1 inch was the best of the day, as was her shot put throw of 39 feet, 2 inches. 

“Loni Havlovick was a double-winner against very good competition. She accounted for 20 points by herself,” Polson head coach Bob Gunderson said. “Loni has been a consistent winner for us all year. She is having a great year. One that is much deserved and is a result of all the work she puts into her events.”

Nicole Davey also impressive in her ironman performance, placing in all five events she entered. 

She was second in the pole vault, clearing 9 feet, 6 inches, third in the 400-meter dash in 1:00.60, and third in the 300-meter hurdles in 47.88 seconds. She also ran on both fourth-place relay teams.

“Nicole Davey did what I consider to be the hardest double in track. She competed in the 400-meter dash (placing third) and turned right around in the very next event and placed third in the 300-meter hurdles,” Gunderson explained. “She was in the middle of the pole vault (competition) and had easily cleared 9-6 prior to these races. When she came back to the vault she didn’t have the legs to compete the way she could have. (But) she is very unselfish and always puts the team first.”

The 400-meter relay team of Katie Finley, Anna DiGiallonardo, Davey and Breanne Kelley took fourth in 51.47 seconds, while the 1,600-meter relay team of Finley, Christa Red Crow, Davey and Kelley placed fourth in 4:11.76.

“The 1,600-meter relay was one of the most exciting girls events of the day. Four teams finished less than one second apart after four laps around the track,” Gunderson said. “Our anchor (Davey) got boxed in on the final corner. The three girls ahead of her spread out across the track coming down the straightaway and try as she might (Davey) couldn’t get inside them or between them. I feel we would have won the race if she could have found a gap to go through.”

Mesa Starkey broke the Polson school record in the 3,200-meter run previously set by Abi Friez (12:07) in 1994. Starkey clocked the two miles in 11 minutes, 56.10 seconds to place fourth in the event.

“She keeps getting better with each race and will be a major factor for us as we try for another state team championship,” Gunderson said of Starkey. He also credited his assistant coach for the success of Polson’s middle and long distance runners.

“Coach Jenni Brown does a great job with our boy and girl runners. She was an excellent runner herself and has brought her experience to the kids in our program,” Gunderson noted.

Kelley also contributed big points in four events. In addition to competing on both relay teams, Kelley took fourth in the 200-meter dash in 27.21 seconds and earned sixth in the 300-meter hurdles in 48.66.

Natasha Lafferty also added a fourth-place finish in the shot put with a throw of 34 feet, 7 inches.

In the boys’ competition, Polson had two placers in the pole vault competition, with Ty Fouty taking third by clearing 12 feet, 6 inches and Trae Fouty earning sixth at 12 feet. 

Colter Bull was a double-placer in the middle distance runs. Bull clocked a personal best time of 2:02.32 in the 800-meter run to place fourth and ran the 1,600-meter run in 4:38.44 to take fourth in that event.

“Colter Bull ran an excellent 800-meter race ... and ran an excellent leg on our 1600-meter relay team,” Gunderson noted.

Alex Havlovick threw the discus 143 feet, 7 inches to finish fifth in that event, while Jordan Cross ran the 400-meters in 54.06 seconds to place sixth.

“Alex continues to have a good senior year in his specialty, the discus. He is consistently over 140 feet and has placed in every meet this year,” Gunderson added.

Two Pirates placed in the long jump, too. Vince DiGiallonardo was seventh after jumping 20 feet, 1.5 inches, and Mike Devlin was eighth at 19 feet, 10.5 inches, a personal record for the freshman.

Both Polson boys’ relay teams finished sixth. The 4x400-meter relay squad of Devlin, Bull, Chris Cote and Jordan Cross clocked the mile in 3 minutes, 35.64 seconds, while Devlin, Joe Andrews, Brock Picard and DiGiallonardo ran the one-lapper 4x100-meter relay in 45.59 seconds.

“The (1,600) relay time of 3:35.64 was the boys’ best effort of this season,” Gunderson said. “Vince DiGiallonardo had a very good meet, getting PRs in the long jump and high jump (5-10). He won the novice high jump.”

Gunderson added that distance runner Jimmy Bjorge won the freshman 3,200-meter run in an excellent time of 10 minutes, 53 seconds.

“Jimmy always lays everything on the line when he races. He has an excellent chance of going to the state meet as a freshman,” Gunderson added.

And that state meet in Laurel is only two weeks away. Polson’s track team will prepare for next week’s divisional meet in Libby by hosting the Polson ABC track meet on Saturday. 

The Nelson/Thomas Athletic Booster Club Invitational begins at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Polson Sports Complex, with teams from Polson, Ronan-St. Ignatius, Whitefish, Columbia Falls, Stevensville, Corvallis, Hamilton and Browning. 

“This meet features are number of the state’s best athletes and track and field teams,” coach Gunderson said. “Corvallis is a strong contender again for the state title in the boys division, and Polson and Hamilton are in contention for the girls’ state title.”

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