By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsemail@example.com
How quickly things can change in the inconsistent world of spring sports in Montana. Last weekend the Havre Blue Pony tennis team opened their season in unusually mild weather at the Cut Bank Invitational. One week later the Ponies are wondering if they will even be able to compete on Saturday as they are scheduled to take part in the Conrad Invitational.
"The weather doesn't look like it is going to cooperate," said Havre High head coach Sam Dierman. "But as always, it will be a decision that we won't know until Friday night or Saturday morning."
If the meet goes on as planned, the Ponies will face the exact same teams that they saw in Cut Bank, where the Havre boys went 2-1 and the girls went 3-0 in dual action against Cut Bank, Conrad and Lewistown.
The main difference this weekend will be a change in format. The tournament will be a regular double-elimination bracket and each school will only have two doubles teams participating instead of the usual three.
The Blue Pony lineup will also be shaken up a little as some players will be out with other obligations and others will be seeing their first action of the young season.
On the boys side, defending Class A state singles champion Kyle Baltrusch will return to the Pony lineup as Havre's No. 1 singles player. Senior Ian Spencer will move up to play No. 2, followed by freshman Chase Castloo at No. 3 and sophomore Coda Tchida at No. 4.
In doubles, Jeremy Heninger will team up with Cody McLain as the Ponies' top doubles team. Sophomore's Marc Mariani and Gary Wagner will play No. 2 doubles. McLain is usually Havre's No. 2 singles player, but Daine Solomon, who usually plays with Heninger is out this weekend with other obligations.
"We had to shake the lineup up once again," Dierman said. "But I think the boy's team will be OK. We should do fairly well at this tournament even though it is typically not one of the events we perform well at for some reason."
The girl's team will also be a little different this weekend as well. Amy McLain will move up to No. 1 singles as Crystal Pyrak will be absent this weekend. Mallory Cresswell will play No. 2 singles, followed by Megan Rice at No. 3 and Ericka Johnson at No. 4.
In doubles, the team of Jennifer Gorder and Ryan Hamilton will play number one and freshmen Keelie Solomon and Steph Flatau will play No. 2.
"Right now, we have a lot of girls who are coming and going," Dierman said. "So it is still up in the air on where the girls are playing each week, but I like what I have seen out of our girls in practice. They are working hard and I think they could do real well this weekend."
If the weather cooperates, the Conrad Invitational is set to get underway at 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning at the tennis courts Conrad High School.