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Lady Pirates win 7 events at Whitefish track meet, Pirates battle through injuries

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It was a busy, weather-impacted week of track for the Polson squad, but the thinclads made the most of it, though short-handed on the boys’ side. Polson sent athletes to Tuesday’s Top 10 Invitational in Missoula on Tuesday, then they competed in Saturday’s A.R.M. track and field meet in Whitefish.

Polson’s girls continue to look tougher and tougher every week, placing second at the Whitefish A.R.M. and doing well in the Top 10. Polson’s boys, however, are trying to fill holes of key competitors who are out with injuries.

Polson sent eight girls to the Top 10 and all eight placed in their events. 

Nicole Davey won the pole vault by clearing 10 feet, adding a third-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles in 46.58 seconds. 

“Nicole was a surprise winner in the pole vault, defeating the girl from Helena Capital that had the best mark in the state,” Polson head coach Bob Gunderson said. 

Davey also anchored the winning 1,600-meter relay team. Katie Finley, Breanne Kelley, Christa Red Crow and Davey clocked the mile relay in 4 minutes, 11.69 seconds

“Our 1,600-meter relay team ran very well considering it had begun to rain and blow at the start of the event,” Gunderson said. “Our girls are good runners that are very experienced at this event. They are smart, don’t panic when they are behind, and dig down deep when it counts. You can count the number 1,600-meter relays that the Polson Lady Pirates have lost on one hand from 2003 to 2010.”

Loni Havlovick added a second-place finish in shot put with a heave of 38 feet and took third in the discus with a throw of 119 feet, 6 inches. Natasha Lafferty added a sixth place in the shot put with a throw of 34-8.

Kelley took fifth in the 100-meter hurdles in 16.04 seconds, while Mesa Starkey posted a time of 12 minutes, 14.70 seconds to earn sixth in the 3,200-meter run.

The short relay team of Finley, Anna DiGiallonardo, Davey and Kelley posted a time of 51.14 seconds to place third.

“The girls had an exceptional (Top 10) meet. Everyone that was entered placed in the top six in their events (and) most of them recorded season best marks at this meet,” coach Gundy noted. 

Eleven Polson boys were invited to compete, but Colter Bull was the only Pirate to place, earning a sixth-place finish in the 1,600-meter run in his second-best time ever at 4 minutes, 37.50 seconds. 

“The results on the boys’ side were a little disappointing,” Gunderson said. “Jason Bowman (100, 200, 400 relay) didn’t run at all even though he was at the meet. This hurt our short relay team, which had recorded the best time coming in. We lose at least a second when he doesn’t run. Jason also had one of the top 100-meter and 200-meter times going into this meet.”

Polson boys’ 1,600-meter relay team of Mike Devlin, Jordan Cross, Chris Cote and Joe Andrews did have its best time of the season, but finished in seventh place. Ty Fouty also cleared 12 feet, 6 inches to finish seventh in the pole vault, as did Alex Havlovick in the discus with a throw of 140 feet.

The boys were still shorthanded on Saturday, missing three key athletes that contribute or help contribute important points.

“Injuries continue to plague our boys’ team with three of our fastest athletes out at this point. Jason Bowman (quadriceps), Traven Hoyt (calf), Brock Picard (hamstring) didn’t participate (due to injuries) ,” Gunderson said. “I am not sure when any of these three will be back competing. Hopefully we will have them all for the divisional (meet).” 

Though Polson’s boys finished sixth out of 18 teams, Gunderson did have some of his athletes gut out some good performances in Whitefish.

Joe Andrews had a good day, posting a personal record in the 200-meter dash in 23.19 seconds, despite a nagging — and quite swollen — ankle injury from three weeks ago. He also ran on both relays.

Mike Devlin jumped 19 feet, 6.75 inches in the long jump to place fourth, even though he is still nursing a hip pointer. Alex Havlovick also set a personal record in the discus, placing third with a throw of 145 feet, 2.5 inches.

The pole vault event continues to be a strong point for Polson with three boys placing in the top six. Ty Fouty won the vault again by clearing 12-6 and Zion Lee posted his best mark of the year at 12 feet and finishing third. Brock Bleazard also cleared 11 feet to place sixth.

Polson’s 1,600-meter relay squad of Devlin, Bull, Cote and Andrews took third at 3:37.50 and the short relay team of Cote, Andrews, Devlin and Vince DiGiallonardo took fifth in 46.06 seconds.

Just out of placing, Miles Bieber ran a personal-record 4:53 in the mile to finish in seventh, while Clark Rubel made the finals in the discus with a PR throw of 124 feet, 8 inches.

The Lady Pirates earned second with 111.5 points, behind Class AA Glacier High and way ahead of third-place Whitefish at 80 points. Polson had six individual champions and a relay championship.

Kelley swept both hurdle races, winning the 100-meter hurdles in a season-best time of 15.89 seconds. She also won the 300 hurdles in 48.86 seconds.

The junior added a third-place finish in the 200-meter dash in 26.67 seconds and ran on both relay teams.
Kelley’s times are some of the best in the state in Class A, including second in the 100 hurdles, third in the 200, and fourth in the 300 hurdles.
Davey won two events, clocking a 59.78 to win the 400-meter dash and clearing 10 feet to win the pole vault event, a mark that tied the meet record.
Starkey won the girls’ mile in a personal-record time of 5 minutes, 36 seconds and Havlovick won the shot put with a throw of 34 feet, 11.5 inches. Lafferty took second in the shot with a throw of 33-8.5. 
Havlovick added a second-place finish in discus (120-5) and Lafferty took fifth (102-3), while Havlovick’s throw of 94 feet, 1 inch was good enough for fifth in the javelin competition. 
Red Crow placed in two individual events, earning third in the 100-meter hurdles in 17.58 seconds and fifth in the 300-meter hurdles in 51.95.
As expected, Polson’s two relay teams did very well. The 400 relay team of Finley, DiGiallonardo, Davey and Kelley posted a time of 50.79 seconds to place second behind Cut Bank, which clocked a fast time of 50.65. Kelly, to her credit, made up a lot of ground over the final 100 meters but came up about three meters short of taking the lead.
The long relay team of Finley, Kelley, Red Crow and Davey won the event in 4 minutes, 14.16 seconds, nipping Glacier’s squad by eight hundredths of a second. 
“They defeated a tough Glacier team,” Gunderson emphasized. “The only 1,600-meter relay these girls have lost this year was at the MCPS meet in Missoula when Flathead beat them.
Flathead ran in a different heat that day and won by .03 seconds. They are currently ranked first in Class AA. I doubt they would have beaten us head-to-head. The girls take a lot of pride in this race and are currently ranked at the top of the heap again Class A competition in the state.”
Gunderson noted that Davey broke 69 seconds in the 400 for the first time this season and posted the fourth-fastest time in Class A so far. She also beat this year’s Top 10 champion in the event, Malecha Bailey of Eureka. He added that Starkey is currently ranked first in the 3,200 and second in the 1,600 in the state, while the short relay is second in Class A standings. 
Gunderson likes how his throwers — especially Havlovick and Lafferty — are competing, too. 
“These two girls place in (shot put and discus) at almost every meet regardless of the level of competition,” Gunderson explained. “Loni is currently ranked first in both the shot put and discus among Class A schools. Tasha is (ranked) third in the shot and fourth in the discus.”
And the Polson girls haven’t finished posting better and better marks.
“What impresses me most about the current Lady Pirate track team is their ability to put forth their best efforts week after week. They are a special bunch of young ladies,” Gunderson noted.
They’ll have several opportunities to get better this week. Polson hosts the Lake County Meet on Thursday, which was rescheduled from Tuesday due to bad weather conditions. The meet start with field events at 4 p.m. and running events start at 5.
On Saturday, the Polson track team will compete in the Archie Roe Invitational at Flathead High’s Legends Field in Kalispell, beginning at 10 a.m.

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