Chris Peterson Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
After missing almost an entire week of practice due to foul weather, the Havre High tennis teams went back to work this weekend at the Conrad Invitational. The Blue Ponies found mixed results and rusty games at Saturday’s dual tournament, with the HHS boys going 3- 0 in dual action, and the Pony girls going 1-2. “It was a tough day all the way around,” HHS head coach George Ferguson said. “The weather was very cold, which made things tough. And we were definitely rusty, which we expected due to getting very little practice in this week. “But the final results weren’t as important to us as just getting on the court and getting more experience,” he added. “That’s what we need right now, and the kids did a good job of playing through all of the adversity we faced this week.” Despite some up-and-down play at times, the Blue Pony boys managed to stay undefeated in dual action this early season. The Ponies beat Central A rival Lewistown 4-3. The Eagles switched their lineup around, putting highly-touted doubles players Matt and Stephen Gruener at the No. 2 and No. 3 singles spots. Both Grueners won their matches, but Havre’s Shane Kemmer avenged last week’s loss to Lewistown’s No. 1 singles player Justin Hartford. Kemmer defeated Hartford 6-4 and that turned out to be the deciding point, because the Ponies swept the doubles portion of the dual. HHS also picked up a 5-2 win over Cut Bank. In singles, Kyle Miller and Mason Sheppard posted wins, and the Ponies swept the doubles for the second straight dual. The last dual of the day saw Havre again dominate in doubles en route to a perfect 7-0 defeat of host Conrad. On the day, HHS doubles players Todd Roe, David Zentmire, Ryan Kinholt, Tim McLean, Brad Hanson, Austin Wilson and Dan Pizzini were perfect. “I was happy with how we played in doubles,” Ferguson said. “Our depth is starting to show in that area, and what is interesting is, we haven’t really finalized who is playing doubles with whom yet. “Brad Hanson and Austin Wilson really played well this weekend,” he added. “They probably improved the most over the course of the week, and that just goes to show what kind of depth we’re building.” On the girls side, a short-handed Blue Pony team managed just one win after going undefeated last weekend in Cut Bank. The Ponies beat Cut Bank 5-2 to start their day. HHS got two important points in doubles as Christen Kittelson and Hope Hedges and Haley Donovan and Melissa Kittelson both won for HHS. In its second dual of the day, HHS fell to Lewistown 5-2. Junior Katie Mariani picked up a victory at No. 1 singles, and Donovan and Melissa Kittelson won again in doubles. In the final dual of the day, the Ponies won just once against Conrad, as sophomore Hope Hedges picked up a victory at the No. 2 singles spot in a 6-1 dual loss. “I thought our girls played well at times,” Ferguson said. “I think the rust of not practicing was tough to shake off. But I am proud of them for battling the cold and everything else. This was a good learning experience for us, and it will pay off in the long run. “Individually, we got a real good day from Haley Donovan and Melissa Kittelson. They hadn’t played together yet, so getting two wins from them was very encouraging.” Havre will make its only home appearance of the season when the Ponies host the Havre Invitational on Saturday.