By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsemail@example.com
This time of year most people are either putting their golf clubs away for the winter, or trading them in for bowling shoes. The Havre High golf team's season, however, is just starting to get interesting.
The Ponies will travel to Lewistown for the Central A divisional golf tournament. Havre will play a practice round today, while the tournament will get underway Saturday morning at Pine Meadows Golf Course.
Both the HHS girls and boys teams come into Lewistown as the defending Central A champions, and first-year head coach Carla Bolken sees no reason why things should be different this season.
"I am optimistic that both our teams can win divisionals again," Bolken said. "We have much different teams this season, but the kids have played well all season. They have been improving each week, which is what you want to see leading up to this time of year."
The Havre High girls will be one of only three teams competing for the Central A title this weekend.
While all Central A teams will have golfers in the field, only Lewistown and Livingston, along with Havre will have full teams in the tournament.
The Ponies are led by senior Brittany Job and sophomore Ali Ward. Both players have been playing good golf for a majority of the season and Bolken said that she thinks they are both contenders for medalist honors this weekend.
"Brittany has had a really good season with the exception of one week," Bolken said. "I would expect her to play well this weekend. And Ali is also very consistent. She is more than capable of shooting a good round on Saturday and being in the top five or even better."
Joining Job and Ward will be first-year senior Cathy Beecher and a pair of freshman in Stacy Sheppard and Hailey McLain. Only the top four scores qualify for the team total and Bolken thinks that those two scores can come from any of the three.
"Stacy has certainly been getting better each week," Bolken said. "And Cathy and Hailey have been getting there but a little more slowly. The good thing is that all of our girls have gotten a lot of experience this season and that will be very beneficial this last two weeks."
On the boys' side, you would have to go back a long ways to find out the last time that a Havre High team has not captured the divisional title.
Despite a lot of fresh faces on the Ponies in 2004, they are once again the favorites on Saturday in Lewistown. The Ponies main competition will come from Livingston and Belgrade, both of whom had strong showings at the Belgrade Invitational three weeks ago in Bozeman.
"I know our boys team may not be as deep as in years past," Bolken said. "But I certainly think that they are capable of defending their title. We have five very consistent golfers on this team and they are all playing well at the right time."
The Ponies have been paced all season by senior Ben Erickson, who has been in the top 10 or 15 golfers at every tournament this season. Matt Hedstrom, Anthony Wirtzberger and Sean Strand have also showed signs of brilliance at times this season, but Bolken said that they play of another sophomore may be the key to the Ponies post-season successes.
"I think that Brandon Job has been our most consistent golfer next to Ben," Bolken said. "He has been shooting very consistent rounds all season. I am sure he will do the same this weekend."
The Central A divisional golf tournament will get underway Saturday morning in Lewistown. The 18-hole shotgun start is set for 9:30 a.m. at Pine Meadows Golf Course.