By Tiffany L. Rehbein
The Havre Blue Pony boys' tennis team will see some different faces than those from Cut Bank, Conrad, and Lewistown.
The Blue Ponies will compete at Great Falls on Thursday and Helena on Friday and Saturday. The trip will include plenty of AA forces.
At Great Falls, the Ponies will duel Lewistown, Great Falls, and C.M. Russell.
"With the boys, they have gone through the early part of the season how I hoped they would, actually, better than I hoped they would," Havre head coach Sam Dierman said.
Against Lewistown, Cut Bank, and Conrad, the boys have compiled an 18-0 record throughout the first half of the season.
Nos. 1 and 2 singles' players, Kellen Malone and Nick Heninger, have been playing well and shown early-season success. Nos. 3 and 4, Terrence Wells and Cody McLain, have been a pleasant surprise on the team. Only three singles will compete at Helena, with McLain not competing.
"They have dominated their opponents as well," Dierman said. "For the most part, they, too, have played really, really good tennis."
Three boys' doubles' teams will compete this weekend. The No. 1 duo of Mike Frey and Seth Maristuen, No. 2, Tyler Croft and Levi LaPrath, and No. 3 Tyler Vincent and Jeremy Heninger will compete.
"Both the boys' doubles and singles will play teams better than anything they have seen all year," Dierman said. "It's going to be pretty tough competition."
On the girls' side, Nos. 1 and 2 Teri Sherrill and Crystal Heggen have been competing well, although Heggen will not compete at Helena, due to family commitments.
"I think Teri played her best tennis of the year yesterday," Dierman said. Sherrill competed at the Havre Invitational.
With the increased competition, Sherrill should rise to the occasion.
"She's going to get fired up for them," Dierman said.
Nos. 3 and 4 Lauren Malone and Nichole Borst will also compete this weekend in singles. Tiffany Shrauger and Kirsten Kuka are the No. 1 doubles' duo, with Breyon Briese and Sam Velk filling in at No. 2 and Jana McPherson and Nikki Baltrusch competing in the third spot.
"Once the girls get used to each other and with continued work on all the fundamentals involved in doubles, they will be tough," Dierman said. "They are playing typical of the first half of the year. But this is all I want: To be playing their best by the end of the year. That is our ultimate goal."