By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsemail@example.com
Over the years, the golfing spotlight has shined brightest on the Havre High boys golf team.
On Saturday in Lewistown, that light shifted as the Havre High girls team took center stage by defending their Central A girls golf title at Pine Meadows Golf Club.
The HHS girls rode the strong performances of Ali Ward and Brittany Job to finish with a team score of 415. The Ponies edged second-place Livingston by 12 strokes.
Ward and Job had their finest days as Blue Pony golfers as they finished one-two in the individual competition. Ward shot a career best 83 to take home medalist honors on Saturday. Job also shot a career best 85 to finish in second place.
First-year head coach Carla Bolken was not only ecstatic for her top two golfers, but for her entire team for winning the Central A crown for the second straight season.
"We were all really happy for Brittany and Ali," Bolken said. "They both bettered themselves by 10 strokes and they just played great golf.
"This was a great weekend for our girls team," Bolken added. "They all played really well and it is really nice to win this tournament again."
The Ponies played with just four varsity competitors on Saturday and freshmen Stacy Sheppard and Hailey McLain stepped up and helped guide the Ponies to the Central A title. Sheppard shot a 115 to finish in ninth place overall and McLain added a 132 to finish 14th.
"I think all of our girls played really well on Saturday," Bolken said. "There was some pressure on them especially because we only had four players. But they got the job done and that is what matters the most."
Saturday was not as kind to the HHS boys. For the first time in several years, the Blue Pony boys did not return home with the Central A divisional championship. Instead the Ponies finished third with a total score of 345. Belgrade captured first-place honors with a 326. As a team, Havre barely qualified for the state tournament as it edged Livingston by just four strokes.
"We were really close to not making it to state," Bolken said. "We were kind of holding our breath right down to the end of the day.
"I know the boys are pretty disappointed right now," Bolken added. "But they made it to state and now they get a chance to start all over and see what happens."
As expected, the Ponies did get another solid outing from senior Ben Erickson, who shot a 77 to finish second overall. Sophomore Brandon Job also finished strong for Havre with an 86 and an 11th-place finish.
"Ben had another really good day," Bolken said. "He has been playing well all season and he played well again on Saturday.
"Brandon Job has also been really consistent for us and he did a good job on Saturday as well."
Other than Erickson and Job, the Ponies struggled on Saturday. Sophomores Matt Hedstrom and Sean Strand both posted 91s and Anthony Wirtzberger shot 92.
Both the HHS boys and girls teams will now travel to Sidney for the 36-hole Class A state golf tournament. The tournament will get under way Friday morning.
Central A Divisional
Individual State Qualifiers
1. Chris Goldam, Belgrade, 76. 2. Ben Erickson, Havre, 77. 3. Kayle Ingram, Livingston, 78. 4. Jeff Prickett, Belgrade, 80. 5. Jay Hardesty, Livingston, 82. 6. Dan Markovich, Butte Central, 82. 7. Joel Reichert, Belgrade, 83. 8. Steve Gruener, Lewistown, 83. 9. Matt Gruener, Lewistown, 84. 10. Kyle Whitcraft, Lewistown, 85. 11. Brandon Job, Havre, 86. 12. Tony Nelson, Belgrade, 87. 13. Mitch Braine, Lewistown, 89. 14. Brandon Harvey, Belgrade, 89. 15. Adam Axelson, Butte Central, 91.
Belgrade (326) - Chris Goldam 76, Joel Reichert 83, Tony Nelson 87, Jeff Prickett 80, Brandon Harvey 89.
Lewistown (341) - Matt Gruener 84, Mitch Braine 89, Steve Gruener 83, Kyle Whitcraft 85, Justin Cooler 102.
Havre (345) - Ben Erickson 77, Matt Hedstrom 91, Brandon Job 86, Anthony Wirtzberger 92, Sean Strand 91.
Livingston (349) - Jay Hardesty 82, Kayle Ingram 78, Matt Cissle 94, Ben Lyman 104, Kelsey Fry 75.
Butte Central (375) - Dan Markovich 82, Kevin O'Leary 94, Adam Axelson 91, Chris Curry 122, Mario Bartoletti 108.
Browning (431) - Kyle Red Crow 104, Thomas Tall Bull 107, Darrel Fish 110, Mike Goss 110, Scott Kipp 117.
Individual State Qualifiers
1. Ali Ward, Havre, 83. 2. Brittany Job, Havre, 85. 3. Kynsi Berg, Livingston, 96. 4. Hannah Barney, Livingston, 105. 5. Jessie Scott, Browning, 107. 6. Caitlyn Pace, Livingston, 108. 7. Shea Downey, Lewistown, 113. 8. Irene Harrison, Browning, 114. 9. Stacey Sheppard, Havre, 115. 10. Jonna VanDaveer, Butte Central, 117. 11. Chelsea McNamara, Livingston, 118. 12. Kim Waldner-Reid, Lewistown, 120. 13. Justice Kimmel, Lewistown, 128. 14. Hailey McLain, Havre, 132. 15. Jordan Butcher, Lewistown, 137.
Havre (415) - Brittany Job 85, Ali Ward 83, Stacey Sheppard 115, Hailey McLain 132.
Livingston (427) - Kynsi Berg 96, Hannah Barney 105, Caitlyn Pace 108, Chelsea McNamara 118, Crissy Coffman 148.
Lewistown (498) - Kim Waldner-Reid 120, Shea Downey 113, Elyse Moreton 177, Justice Kimmel 128, Jordan Butcher 137.
Browning - Jessie Scott 107, Irene Harrison 114, Corrina Gervais 146.
Butte Central - Jonna VanDaveer 117.