By Kent Dolezal
The Havre High tennis teams enter the postseason the Friday and Saturday in Livingston at the Central A Divisional Tournament.
Blue Pony coach Sam Dierman said the Havre boys team is the heavy favorite, while the girls squad should be able to contend for team honors, if it has a good day.
Kellen Malone is the Ponies top singles player, with Bryan Frey being the No. 2 player. Eric Dimou and Terrance Wells are Nos. 3 and 4, respectively. Nick Heninger and Eli Sethre compose the top doubles pairing. Mike Frey and Seth Maristuen are the second unit, while Chris Dorcheus and Rob Gaskill round out the boys team.
They have been working towards this since last summer, Dierman said of his boys players. A lot of them have been playing steady, and that is a big advantage. I think our kids want it more.
For the girls, Teri Sherrill is the No. 1 singles player, and the favorite in the bracket, Dierman said. Crystal Heggen is the second hitter. Lauren Heggen and Nichole Borst round out the individual girls players. Shannon Brantley and Kirsten Kuka are the top girls doubles pair. Jana McPherson and Tiffany Shrauger are the No. 2 team, with Breyon Briese and Sam Velk the No. 3 squad.
Dierman said that all of his girls singles players have the ability to finish in the top four and advance to state. The two leading doubles teams should also contend, he said, while Briese and Velk are looking to finishing in the top six.
(Mondays) practice was outstanding, he said. I thought both teams, but especially the girls, had a great practice. And that made me think that we are going to get after it this weekend and do really well.
The tournament will be played using full matches, two out of three six-game sets, in a double elimination format. Dierman said the girls doubles bracket will be the hardest, due to the level of competitors.
This is Havres first year in the Central A in tennis. The teams had been competing in the Eastern A, along with Class A powers Glendive and Miles City. The change of divisions will definitely be to the Blue Ponies advantage, Dierman said.
The Pony boys will meet netters from Fergus High of Lewistown and Butte Central. The girls field will have those same two teams with the addition of Anaconda and Park High of Livingston.
Park is the favorite in the girls conflict. With two very strong doubles teams, Dierman said the Rangers have the ability to gain enough team points to be almost insurmountable.
The boys should do very very well. If they don't, it is because they are not ready, to be blunt with you, he said.
It would be great if we could qualify six boys. Well get three for sure. Then after that, if some of our kids play to the best of their ability, they will get in.
The Blue Ponies field an experienced squad, with six senior boys and one senior girls. The teams also have three junior boys and seven junior girls.
We have six pretty strong leaders playing this weekend, Dierman said. These six have been in tennis for four years, more or less, and they have been just a great group of seniors leaders.
Havre has played one two day event this year, and with the longer matches on two occasions. Coupled with Havres experience, the Blue Ponies should be well prepared for this weekend.
You play two out of three for four hours and than another one in two hours. Those kids know how to take care of themselves. They do the little things that are the difference in advancing and not advancing.