The Havre High School boys and girls golf teams have already put together a pretty solid golf season. Now, with the hopes of divisional supremacy and a berth into the state tournament on the line, the Blue Ponies are hoping for yet another solid weekend of play.
Saturday the Central A Ponies will travel to Browning for the 18-hole Central A Divisional tournament. HHS will play at the East Glacier Lodge Golf Course, where the top three boys and top three girls teams, as well as the top 15 boys and top 15 girls will make the cut for the Class A state tourney in Hamilton next weekend.
And, heading into the divisional tournament, both the boys and girls have the weapons to shine, as they take on the Browning Indians, Lewistown Golden Eagles, Livingston Eagles and Belgrade Panthers.
Sam Lippy, Ramsey Drew, David Denny, Simon McCann and Spencer Morkrid make up the Blue Pony team heading into Browning this weekend. And Katie Beck, Nikki Gabrielson, Boston Swensen, Dani Murphy and Lauren Scolfield make up the HHS girls. Seniors Lippy and McCann have led the boys all season long, and McCann is coming off of a junior season where he made the state tournament. Beck is the only returning girl to make the state tournament and has led the girls, while Gabrielson and Swensen have battled back and forth all season long to also help lead the girls team.
Both teams have drastically lowered their stroke count from last season and should do very well on Saturday.
“The girls have really improved from last year,” Havre High head coach McKinsey Rodriguez said. “They have dropped their season average about 40 strokes, and the boys have actually dropped their season average by about 20 strokes. We are pushing really hard to get both teams into state. Everybody is really doing their own part to get into state, and as a whole that will really make our team better in the meantime.”
The Ponies have a solid shot at pushing both teams into the state tournament, but McCann, Lippy, Denny, Beck, Gabrielson and Swensen should definitely lead the way with state berths if they play to their potential.
Livingston and Lewistown look to be the favorites on the girls side, while Livingston and Belgrade look to be the favorites on the boys. But the Ponies are comfortable with the East Glacier course, as they have already played there twice this season.
HHS is right behind the pack leaders but has a clear shot at moving up into the No. 2 or No. 1 spot with a solid performance. Rodriguez thinks if his boys can grab three scores in the 80s and two in the low 90s they will outperform the competition. And if all five of the HHS girls can score under 110, and at leat two under 100, Rodriguez figures his girls have a solid shot at coming away as the No. 2 or No. 1 team.
“This is very doable for both squads,” Rodriquez said. “I think we are going to go in there and do well, especially because of our experience playing there this year already. It is a calm course, and it is supposed to be nice, so I don’t think one thing can throw it off. It should be perfect conditions, and if a kid has a bad day, it will really be their own fault. Each kid is at the point where they just need to go in and so what they need to do and get the job done.”
Saturday the Ponies will in Browning for the Central A divisional tournament at the East Glacier Lodge Golf Course.