For years, it was the Havre High boys golf team which stole the show when it came to Ponies on the links.
But after Saturday’s performance at the Central A Meet in Lewistown, it appears girls golf is on the comeback trail at HHS.
The Ponies have struggled with numbers on the girls side since the 2008 season, but on Saturday, three HHS girls made a statement by reaching the Class A state tournament through qualifying at Judith Shadows Golf Club in Lewistown.
Leading the way was HHS senior Rebekah Martin, who earned her third straight Central A All-Conference letter by finishing in a tie for seventh at the divisional tournament. Martin shot a 107 on Saturday, good enough to place her well inside the Top 15. The top 15 individuals and top three teams on the boys and girls sides advance to the state meet.
HHS also got freshman Katie Beck and sophomore Samantha French through to state, and likely would have pushed freshman Boston Swenson through to state as well had it not been for a disqualification on a minor rules infraction. Beck, who has steadily improved throughout the season, shot a 134 to finish in 13th place and French carded a 141, which was 14th overall.
“It is exciting to see our girls team do so well,” HHS head coach McKinsey Rodriguez said. “I think we would have had a good chance to get the whole team to state if it wasn’t for a DQ on something pretty minor. But with the freshmen and Samantha French being a sophomore, I think we’re doing really well as a program, and getting three girls to state is a good step.”
As expected, Livingston ran away with the girls team title. The Rangers came in at 391, 107 strokes better than second-place Lewistown. Browning was a distant third and Havre was fourth with a team total of 550.
The Ponies weren’t quite as fortunate on the boys side. But junior Simon McCann had a strong 18 holes to reach his second straight state tournament. McCann shot a round of 90 which tied him for 10th place overall, and earned him Central A All-Conference honors for the second straight season.
However, McCann was the only Pony to place inside the Top 15, and as a team, the young Ponies struggled to a 426 total and a last-place finish. Belgrade finished at 330 to take home the Central A title, while Livingston was second and Butte Central third. The rest of the HHS boys lineup, including Sam Lippy and Ramsey Drew missed the Top 15 after battling the tough Lewistown course.
“Simon was hoping for a better score Saturday but he still played well,” Rodriguez said. “And he should be proud of making it to state again because there are a lot of really good players in our league this year. We would have liked to get more boys to state but our league was really tough this year.”
Now, McCann and the three HHS girls have a three days to prepare for the Class A state tournament, which will be played on the difficult Laurel Golf Club in Laurel. The 36-hole season finale starts on Friday morning and ends on Saturday afternoon.
Belgrade 330, Livingston 351, Butte Central 362, Lewistown 363, Browning 392, Havre 426.
Decker Wilson, LIV, 75; Zach Stowell, Belgrade 75; Cleo Allen-Toll, Livingston 81; Zach Klonsinski, Belgrade 82; Jessee Kynett, Lewistown, 85; Tyler Ferguson, Belgrade, 86; Eric Olvie, Belgrade, 87; Austin Butcher, Lewistown, 87; Ed Lally, Butte Central, 89; Simon McCann, Havre, 90; Austin Stowell, Belgrade, 90; Cole Noctor, Butte Central, 90; Harley Davidson, Butte Central, 90; Matt O’Dell, Lewistown 91; Frank Browning, Browning, 92.
Livingston 391, Lewistown 498, Browning 515, Havre 550.
Christal Tokash, Lvingston, 95; Ashton Smith, Browning, 95; Sarah Boyer, Livingston, 96; Emily Buckner, Livingston, 99; Micheala Arunsrud, Livingston, 101; Rayann Brown, Lewistown, 107; Rebekah Martin, Havre, 107; Sidney Smith, Lewistown, 109; Jessica Magee, Browning, 127; Jessee Hirsch, Belgrade, 132; Marlee Thomas, Lewistown, 132; Katie Beck, Havre, 134; Samantha French, Havre, 134; Rayna Wells, Browning, 144.