Daniel Horton Havre Daily News email@example.com
Even threats of rain and wind couldn't slow down the four tennis teams who gathered in Havre on Saturday for the 2009 Havre Invitational Tennis Tournament. Havre High, Lewistown, Cut Bank and Conrad met at the Bill Vaughey Memorial tennis Courts on Saturday afternoon for an invitational style tournament, and after 84 matches were played, both the HHS boys and girls found plenty of success on their home courts. While team scores weren't kept Saturday, Blue Pony head coach George Ferguson was more than pleased with how both his teams performed. "We played a lot of matches," Ferguson said. "That was the goal, the priority. We wanted to get all of our players a lot of experience this weekend and we accomplished that. And while it's still very early in the season, and we have a lot of work to do, I was really pleased with how well we played and how we competed. It was a successful for day for us." On the boys side, the Havre duo of Kyle Miller and Mason Sheppard teamed up for the first time, and took home the doubles title in the process. Miller and Sheppard outlasted a strong team from Lewistown in seniors DJ Kamp and Derek Bartel 8-7 in the championship match. In singles, HHS senior Shane Kemmer reached his fourth straight Havre Invitational championship match, but on Saturday, Kemmer ran into a buzzsaw in defending Class B-C state champion Josh Paulson, and Paulson upended Kemmer 8-3 in the finale. "Mason and Kyle played well," Ferguson said. "They had never played together before and Mason hadn't played doubles in three years, so I was really pleased with how they did. I thought all of our doubles teams played well at one point or another on Saturday. "Shane also played well for the most part," he added. "He was really playing in his first difficult match of the year while Paulson, who is a good player, has played a lot more tennis this season. It was a good match. I know a lot of our singles players would have liked better results, but they played a lot and gained valuable experience and that's the most important thing right now." The only other HHS boy to place Saturday was freshman Blaine Grisak, who took fourth in the No. 3's singles bracket. Grisak went 2-2 on the day. Jake Ulgenes also won a match in singles and the team of Justin Jensen and Jeremy Jensen advanced in doubles. For the second week in a row, HHS dominated the girls doubles portion of a tournament. Juniors Morgan McCann and Jolee Landgraf won four times en route to the girls doubles championship Saturday, while fellow juniors Hayley Donovan and Courtney Kinholt placed third. Mikaela Lipp and Melissa Kittelson also won twice and freshmen Sierra Kannberg and Breanna LaValle won once. In girls singles, the Ponies were paced by a fourth-place effort from sophomore Theresa Buerkle in the No. 3's bracket, while Christina Plum also advanced in the No. 1's bracket. "All of our girls doubles teams are playing well, especially for how early it is in the season," Ferguson said. "We have played two tournaments and we have won both of them in doubles. You have to be pretty pleased with that. "We're still trying to find our way in singles," he added. "We're young in singles. But I thought all of our singles players improved this week, and that's what matter right now. We want to just keep getting better." With their only home meet of the season now behind them, the Pony boys and girls will take to the road for the rest of the year. Havre is in Cut Bank on Friday and Saturday for the Class A Meet. The dual tournament features Polson, Libby, Cut Bank and Lewistown.