Havre Daily News
There is an old saying that goes something like “streaks are made to be broken.”
But don't tell that to either the Havre High boys or the HHS girls tennis teams.
On Saturday afternoon at the Central A Divisional tennis tournament in Lewistown, both Havre High tennis teams kept divisional winning streaks alive by sweeping the 2006 Central A team titles. And both squads did it in convincing fashion.
The Blue Pony boys captured their eighth straight Central A crown by scoring 65 team points and sweeping the singles and doubles titles. Lewistown was a distant second with 36 points.
Meanwhile, the Havre High girl's captured their third straight Central A crown by sweeping both the singles and doubles crowns and scoring a school-record 67 points.
While keeping the winning streaks intact obviously pleased third-year HHS head coach George Ferguson, he said there were many other things that happened during the weekend that were even more gratifying.
“The fact that all of our kids played their best tennis of the year is very special,” Ferguson said. “Even the kids who didn't qualify for state played great and they all contributed very important points to the team titles.
“I also think that taking 16 kids to the state tournament is an amazing accomplishment,” he added. “I am just so proud of all of our players for how they did this weekend. The Lewistown courts are below a huge hill, and when you look down from above and see nothing but blue shirts on every court playing in the finals, as a coach, you can't help but feel very proud of your team and your players. Saturday was a very special day for this program.”
The Blue Pony boys have had their share of ups and downs in what some called a rebuilding year. And going into this weekend, talk around the tournament was that of an impending HHS divisional collapse. But qualifying eight boys for the Class A state tournament, including all three doubles teams quickly quieted all of that.
Havre's No. 1 doubles team of John Christian and Billy Wagner earned the divisional title with a hard-fought three-set win over Lewistown's Matt and Stephen Gruener. The win was the third in as many weeks for Christian and Wagner over the Gruener bothers in what is becoming a friendly but heated rivalry.
Havre's No. 2 team of Ryan Kinholt and Todd Roe and its No. 3 squad of Jordan Croft and David Zentmire also qualified for the state tournament after each team rounded from quarterfinals losses. In the consolation final, Roe and Kinholt defeated Zentmire and Croft, 6-3, 6-2.
“This is the second straight year we have got all three doubles teams to state,” Ferguson said. “So that will be an advantage for us for sure.
“I am just really happy for Billy and John, too,” he added. “They have played so well this season and they did it again this weekend. There is no doubt in my mind that they are a great doubles team, not just a good doubles team.”
In singles, senior Chase Castloo had to beat two of his teammates on Saturday in order to claim his first Central A title. Castloo, who had finished second and third in the last two Central A tourneys, defeated HHS freshman Mason Sheppard in the semifinals and then outlasted a surging Shane Kemmer in a thrilling, three-set championship match.
“I am very happy for Chase,” Ferguson said. “He has been close to winning this tournament before, and for the last three years he has played on a team that has the greatest singles player in Class A history on it. So it was exciting to see him play so well in his last divisional tournament.
“And Shane Kemmer, what can you say about his performance in his first divisional tournament except for ‘wow,'” he added. “He played amazing tennis and he has a great future ahead of him, and that includes this year's state tournament. “
Sheppard finished one match short of reaching the state tournament, while HHS senior Scott Miller also came up short in his bid to reach the state tournament for a second straight season.
“It was tough to not get Scott Miller and Mason Sheppard to state, but both players are an important part of this team. Scott had a great career for us and this program is going to miss him dearly,” Ferguson said.”All of our boys played well, though. I think they were really motivated this weekend and it showed in how they played.”
On the girls side, the Blue Pony girls went to bed Friday night trailing rival Livingston by two points. Saturday afternoon belonged to the Ponies, though, as they ended up defeating Livingston by 24 points en route to their third straight team title.
“Saturday was a historic day for our girls team,” Ferguson said. “We swept the singles and doubles titles and we qualified eight girls for the state tournament, which is the most we've had. Our girls team just did an amazing job this weekend, and I am proud of every one on this team for contributing to our success.” Saturday was also special for HHS seniors Steph Flatau and Keelie Solomon, as well as sophomore Katie Mariani.
As great as Flatau and Solomon have been over the last four years, a Central A doubles title had been missing from their impressive resume. On Saturday, the tandem dispatched Livingston's Hanna Gertiser and Elisa Hancock in the championship match, 6-0, 6-2 to claim their first Central A title.
Meanwhile, Mariani kept the Central A girl's singles championship in Havre for the third straight year, and she did it in dramatic fashion. Mariani defeated fellow sophomore Anna Arrasmith for the first time in four meetings between the two, 6-2, 7-5 in the championship match. The win follows former HHS great Amy McLain, who had won the previous two Central A titles.
“I am so happy for Steph and Keelie to finally win this tournament,” Ferguson said. “You could see all weekend that they weren't going to be denied anymore. They just played lights-out tennis in the final. And they have worked so hard to get to this point, and nobody deserves it more.
“And Katie picked a great time to beat Anna Arrasmith,” he added. “They have played three great matches, including one just last week. I know this win means a lot to Katie, because it is another step in her maturation process as a player, and because she overcame a big hurdle this weekend. Katie is a great player and she earned this championship.”
Individual championships weren't the only factor in Havre's record-setting day in Lewistown. In doubles, the Ponies had their No. 2 team of Karissa Olson and Alexa Lipp and their No. 3 team of Kari Gorder and Kristi Hollingshead in the semifinals. Both teams won huge matches in the consolation semifinals in order to qualify for the state tournament. In the consolation final, Lipp and Olson defeated Gorder and Hollingshead for third place.
“It was very important to get all of our doubles teams to state,” Ferguson said. “They are all seniors and we didn't want to leave anybody home this weekend.
“You have to be so happy for Kari, Kristi, Karissa and Alexa, because they all work so hard and they have been on our team for a lot of years,” he added. “And they earned this trip to state. Both teams wanted it really badly, and both teams went to Lewistown this weekend and fought hard to get to where they are now. I am really happy for all four of those kids and extremely proud of them for never giving up no matter tough things got at times.”
Havre also got a big boost from freshman Hope Hedges who qualified for the state tournament in her first year of high school tennis. Other than a loss to Livingston's Serena Morrow in the quarterfinals, Hedges demolished the competition on her way to an unusual fourth-place finish. Severe weather caused the cancellation of the girl's singles consolation final, and Hedges lost a coin flip to see who would finish third and who would finish fourth.
“Hope Hedges is a fighter and she kept up the tradition of our No. 3 singles player finishing in the top four,” Ferguson said. “She is as a competitive a player as I've coached in my three years, and that strength and toughness really payed off for her this weekend.”
Unfortunately, Havre's No. 2 singles player Haley McLain and No. 4 Jocelyn Chagnon didn't qualify for the Class A state tournament, but both players added to Havre's team title with multiple wins. McLain fell one win short of reaching the state tournament. Chagnon's career came to an end two rounds earlier at the hands of her teammate McLain.
“Jocelyn has been a pleasure to coach these last three years, and she really came up clutch for us this weekend,” Ferguson said. “She has always put the team first, and she was really focused on helping us beat Livingston this weekend.
“And it was tough to not get Haley to state,” Ferguson said. “In my opinion, she is probably the best singles player in the state that won't be in the state tournament. But she ran into a tough player in her last match, and things just didn't go her away. But she is a great player and she has a great future ahead of her.”
All of Havre's 16 state qualifiers will now move on to the 2006 Class A state tournament, which gets under way Thursday morning in both Polson and Ronan. The HHS boys are the six-time defending Class A state champions, and the HHS girls have finished third and second in the last two state tournaments.
Central A Divisional
Havre 65, Lewistown 36, Butte Central 15, Livingston 7
Chase Castloo (1st Place)
1st Rd - Castloo def. Alex Murphy, BC, 6-0, 6-0; Castloo def; 2nd Rd - Castloo def. Shane Parker, LEW, 6-0, 6-1; Semifinals - Castloo def. Mason Sheppard, HAV, 6-2, 7-5; Final - Castloo def. Shane Kemmer, HAV, 7-6, 4-6, 6-3.
Shane Kemmer (2nd Place)
1st Rd - Kemmer def. Matt Storey, LIV, 6-0, 6-0; 2nd Rd - Kemmer def. Brandon Hemsath, LEW, 6-0, 6-2; Semifinals - Kemmer def. Justin Hartford, LEW, 6-4, 7-5; Final - Chase Castloo, Hav def. Kemmer, 7-6, 4-6, 6-3.
1st Rd - Justin Hartford, LEW def. Miller, 6-2, 6-2; LO - Miller def. JD Holland, BC, 6-3, 6-1; LO - Brandon Hemsath, LEW def. Miller, 6-4, 6-4.
1st Rd - Sheppard def. Peter DeBoer, LIV, 6-2, 6-2; 2nd Rd - Sheppard def. Lindsay Vanio, BC, 6-0, 4-6, 6-3; Semifinals - Chase Castloo, HAV def. Sheppard, 6-2, 7-5; LO - Brandon Hemsath, LEW def. Sheppard, 6-4, 6-1.
John Christian/Billy Wagner (1st Place)
1st Rd - Christian/Wagner, BYE; 2nd Rd - Christian/Wagner def. Levi Driskell/Shane Emerson, LEW, 6-1, 6-1; Semifinals - Christian/Wagner def. Dan Markovich/Casey Boyle, BC, 6-1, 6-3; Final - Christian/Wagner def. Matt Gruener/Stephen Gruener, LEW, 7-5, 3-6, 6-4.
Ryan Kinholt/Todd Roe (3rd Place)
1st Rd - Kinholt/Roe def. Jake Bruch/Trevor Lemon, 6-2, 6-0; 2nd Rd - Stephen Gruener/Matt Gruener, LEW def. Kinholt/Roe, 6-2, 6-3; LO - Kinholt/Roe def. Dale Walker/Troy Levin, LEW, 6-0, 6-1; LO - Kinholt/Roe def. Bruch/Lemon, LIV, 6-0, 6-1; Consolation Semifinals - Kinholt/Roe def. Markovich/Boyle, BC, 6-1, 6-4; Consolation Final - Kinholt/Roe def. Jordan Croft/David Zentmire, HAV, 6-3, 6-2.
David Zentmire/Jordan Croft (4th Place)
1st Rd - Croft/Zentmire def. Derrick Clute/Chazz Goodwine, LIV, 6-0, 6-0; 2nd Rd - Dan Markovich/Casey Boyle, BC def. Croft/Zentmire, 6-4, 7-5; LO - Croft/Zentmire def. Mario Bartoletti/Andy Chang, BC, 6-0, 6-3; LO - Croft/Zentmire def. Levi Driskell/Shane Emerson, LEW, 6-0, 6-3; Consolation Semifinals - Croft/Zentmire def. Adam Fine/Zach Bair, BC, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3; Consolation Final - Kinholt/Roe, HAV def. Croft/Zentmire, 6-3, 6-2.
Havre 67, Livingston 43, Lewistown 20, Anaconda 5, Butte Central 5.
Katie Mariani (1st Place)
1st Rd - Mariani, BYE, 2nd RD - Mariani def. Megan Chapman, LIV, 6-1, 6-2; 3rd Rd - Mariani def. Allisyn Bent, LEW, 6-0, 6-0; Semifinals - Mariani def. serena Morrow, LIV, 7-5, 6-2; Final - Mariani def. Anna Arrasmith, LIV, 6-2, 7-5.
Hope Hedges (4th Place)
1st Rd - Hedges def. April Capp, ANA, 6-0, 6-0; 2nd Rd - Hedges def. Callen Driscoll, BC, 6-0, 6-1; 3rd Rd - Serena Morrow, LIV def. Hedges, 6-2, 6-4; LO - Hedges def. Chapman, LIV, 6-0, 6-1; Hedges def. Driscoll, BC, 6-0, 6-1; Consolation Semifinals - Hedges def. Hanna Barney, LIV, 6-0, 6-1; Consolation Final - Called by weather. Decided on Coin Flip.
1st Rd - McLain def. Haley Cote', BC, 6-0, 6-0; 2nd Rd - McLain def. Jessica Martin, LEW, 6-2, 6-2; 3rd Rd - Hanna Barney, LIV def. Mclain, 6-4, 6-2; LO - McLain def. Jocelyn Chagnon, HAV, 6-4, 6-1; LO - McLain def. Abby Knab, LEW, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4; Consolation Semifinals - Serena Morrow, LIV def. McLain, 6-2, 7-5.
1st Rd - Bye; 2nd Rd - Abby Knab, LEW def. Chagnon, 6-4, 7-5; LO - Chagnon def. Kimi Burt, BC, 6-1, 6-2; LO - Chagnon def. Jamie Janosko, ANA, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4; LO - Haley McLain, HAV def. Chagnon, 6-4, 6-1.
Steph Flatau/Keelie Solomon (1st Place)
1st Rd - Bye; 2nd Rd - Solomon/Flatau def. Ashley Boettger/Merrick Carpenter, LEW, 6-3, 6-4; Semifinals - Solomon/Flatau def. Kari Gorder/Kristi hollingshead, HAV, 6-3, 6-4; Final - Solomon/Flatau def. Elisa Hancock/Hanna Gertiser, LIV, 6-0, 6-2.
Karissa Olson/Alexa Lipp (3rd Place)
1st Rd - Lipp/Olson def. Sara Meyer/Saundra Searle, LIV, 6-4, 6-2; 2nd Rd - Lipp/Olson def. Emily Gordon/Brianne Schwomeyer, LEW, 6-3, 6-2; Semifinals - Elisa Hancock/Hanna Gertiser, LIV def. Lipp/Olson, 6-4, 6-1; Consolation Semifinals - Lipp/Olson def. Ashley Boettger/Merrick Carpenter, LEW, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4; Consolation Final - Lipp/Olson def. Kari Gorder/Kristi Hollinsghead, HAV, 6-1, 6-0.
Kari Gorder/Kristi Hollingshead (4th Place)
1st Rd - Gorder/Hollingshead def. Kaylyn Johnston/Jackie Smith, ANA, 6-3, 6-1; 2nd Rd - Gorder/Hollingshead def. Jennfier Wesen/Amanda Hoover, LIV, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2; Semifinals - Steph Flatau/Keelie Solomon, HAV def. Gorder/Hollingshead, 6-3, 6-4; Consolation Semifinals - Gorder/Hollingshead def. Emily Gordon/Brianne Schwomeyer, LEW, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-3.