By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editorfirstname.lastname@example.org
It wasn't perfect, but it was impressive.
The Havre High tennis team started off the 2004 season with a solid showing at the Cut Bank Invitational, winning all but one dual of six dual matches.
The defending four-time state champion boys team picked right up where it left off last season, cruising to three easy dual wins over Lewistown, Cut Bank and Conrad. Havre lost just one match in the three duals.
"I was really happy with how our boys competed all weekend," said head coach George Ferguson. "They faced some competition that was not up to their level and it would have been easy to play down to it."
Indeed, in a 3-0 win over Conrad, Havre players didn't allow Conrad to take a single game, shutting them out in three matches. The Ponies were also impressive in a 7-0 win over defending Class B champ Cut Bank, which was playing without three-time state champ Keithan Gregg.
Ferguson switched up the lineup often, but it rarely mattered. Havre's only loss came against Lewistown as John Christian and Billy Wagner were defeated by Kevin Seph and Stephen Gruener in a tough match.
"All of our boys were really focused on the court and went and took care of business in every match," Ferguson said. "They showed the competitive spirit I was looking for, and I was happy to see it, especially out of our younger players."
The Havre girls finished the weekend with a 2-1 record. The Ponies suffered a tough 4-3 loss to Lewistown, but rallied to defeat Conrad 4-2 and Cut Bank 5-2.
"We took some very young and inexperienced girls to Cut Bank," Ferguson said. "This weekend was more about getting some competitive matches in and for them to find out what high school tennis is all about."
Against the Ponies, the Eagles' strong doubles teams of Alira Carpenter and Devin Nelson and Shaylynn Conroy and Caitlin Flament won two of three matches to secure the win.
"Girls doubles is an area where we are very young and it will take some time for our No. 2 and No. 3 teams to get up to varsity speed," Ferguson said. "Our singles players really played well this weekend. They went a combined 11-1 in the three duals."
Amy McLain, Megan Rice and Christen Kittleson were all undefeated, while Karissa Olson was 2-1 with a tough loss to Lewistown's Jaime Berg.
"Amy played some girls who were a little better than we thought they would be, but she still played well," Ferguson said. "Christen played very well for her first varsity tournament and Karissa also played very well."
The weekend as a whole was very productive. Ferguson still found plenty to work on for both the boys and the girls.
"I think they found out we have a long way to go," Ferguson said. "It is early and nobody is playing their best tennis. Hopefully, this weekend showed them that they still have a lot of work to do in practice to get where we want to be."
Havre will be in Conrad this weekend for the Conrad Invitational.
Havre 6, Lewistown 1
Kyle Baltrusch def. Michael Richter, 8-2; Daine Solomon def. Daryl Koncilya, 8-0; Chase Castloo def. Shane Emerson, 8-0, Lucas Hamilton def. Brandon Hemsath, 8-0.
Marc Mariani/Coda Tchida def. John Petershick/Mitch Brane, 8-3; Kevin Seph/Stephen Gruener def. John Christian/Billy Wagner, 7-3 (time limit); Scott Miller/Ryan Kinholt def. Jesse Pearson/Levi Driskell, 8-1.
Havre 3, Conrad 0
Marc Mariani def. Jake Pearson, 8-0; Scott Miller def. Garrett Rasmussen, 8-0.
John Christian/Austin Small def. Jake Pearson/Garrett Rassmussen, 8-0.
Havre 7, Cut Bank 0
Kyle Baltrusch def. Brian McDivitt, 8-6; Chase Castloo def. Noel Geiger 8-6; Lucas Hamilton def. Garrett Mezandara, 8-1; Ryan Kinholt def. Cody Pyette, 8-3.
Marc Mariani/Daine Solomon def. Kyle Lewis/Jeff Larson, 8-1; Coda Tchida/Billy Wagner def. Matt Whelchel/Sage Sammons, 8-3; John Christian/Austin Small def. David Parroy/Andy Halverson, 8-0.
Lewistown 4, Havre 3
Amy McLain def. Emily Gordon, 8-2; Megan Rice def. Steph Vise, 8-1; Jamie Berg def. Karissa Olson, 8-3, Christen Kittelson def. Becca Bauman, 8-0.
Devin Nelson/Alira Carpenter def. Kari Gorder/Christi Hollingshead, 8-1; Shaylynn Conroy/Caitlin Flament def. Jocelyn Chagnon/Molly Proctor, 8-0; Merrick Carpenter/Katie Jackson def. Katy Dow/Riche Wilson, 8-4.
Havre 4, Conrad 2
Amy McLain def. Kelli Bergstrom, 8-2; Megan Rice def. Amber Kiel, 8-4; Karissa Olson def. Mikel Martin, 8-1; Christen Kittelson def. Karlee Brunett, 8-1.
Kelli Bergstrom/Amber Kiel def. Kari Gorder/Christi Hollingshead, 8-2; Mikel Martin/Karlee Brunett def. Jocelyn Chagnon/Molly Proctor, 8-4.
Havre 5, Cut Bank 2
Amy McLain def. Trisha Bauer, 8-2; Megan Rice def. Ricki Ollinger, 8-2; Karissa Olson def. Brittany Dosch, 8-1; Christen Kittelson def. Jana Schmidt, 8-1.
Jessica Jacobsen/Melanie Rice def. Kari Gorder/Christi Hollingshead, 8-4; Alex Biegler/Kelsey Cooper def. Jocelyn Chagnon/Molly Proctor, 8-5; Angie Maxwell/Riche Wilson def. Janadee Manini/Katie Winowicz, 8-5.