By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsfirstname.lastname@example.org
Going into this weekend Havre High head tennis coach Sam Dierman admitted that his teams don't normally perform well at the Conrad Invitational. The jury may still be out on the Ponies as both the boys and girls teams put in solid if not spectacular performance in Conrad on Saturday afternoon.
Official team scores were not kept, but the Pony girls team would have captured first place honors while the boys team would have come in second behind the Cut Bank Wolves.
Individually, the Pony boys dominated the doubles competition on Saturday. Jeremy Heninger and Cody McLain teamed up to capture first place honors with a 8-2 win over sophomore teammates Marc Mariani and Gary Wagner. The Havre High girls team also finished in first and second place in the doubles competition. Jennifer Gorder and Ryan Hamilton teamed up to defeat freshman teammates Keelie Solomon and Steph Flatau 8-2 in the championship match on Saturday.
The doubles results were the highlight of the tournament, according to Dierman.
"I have to like the fact that all of our doubles teams played in the championships," Dierman said. "They still have a long way to go if they want to compete on the state level, but this is a good start."
In singles, the Pony boys were led by sophomore Kyle Baltrusch, who finished in third place. However, Baltrusch was upset in the semi-finals and missed out on a bid to face one of the states' top players in Cut Bank's Keithan Gregg. No. 2 singles player Ian Spencer went 2-2 on the weekend, including a win over freshman teammate Chase Castloo in loser-out play. Castloo and sophomore Coda Tchida each won a match in loser-out play on Saturday.
In girls singles, sophomore Amy McLain reached the semifinals before falling and then bounced back to capture third place honors with a 6-0 win in the consolation final. Erika Johnson went 2-2 on the weekend, while Megan Rice won three straight matches after losing in the opening round. Mallory Creswell also went 1-2 in singles competition, including a loss to Rice in a tiebreaker in loser-out action.
"Both our boys and girls singles players were just really inconsistent this weekend," Dierman said. "The boys really need to work on controlling their groundstrokes and the girls need to focus on each point a little more."
The Ponies will be at home this weekend as they host the Havre Invitational tennis tournament beginning Saturday morning at the HHS tennis courts.