By Tiffany L. Rehbein
The Havre Blue Pony tennis team has undergone a bit of a facelift.
Just one week before the Central A divisional and two weeks before state, four freshmen will have the opportunity to play some varsity tennis Saturday at Lewistown.
"I think this team is going to really pull together now and make a good strong run at the divisional title," Havre head coach Sam Dierman said.
Senior Lauren Malone, who was the Ponies' No. 3 singles' player, decided to quit the team in order to focus more fully on other school activities.
Junior Nikki Baltrusch, a member of the No. 2 doubles' team, was suspended for two weeks due to team rules violations. She would miss both tournaments with the suspension.
In order to fill the vacant spots, freshmen Crystal Pyrak, Samantha Shrauger, Jen Gorder, and Ryan Hamilton were promoted to the varsity.
"Teams always go through shake-ups during the season," Dierman said. "We've had ours so I'm going to see how the kids respond."
In the final duals before divisional, the Havre girls will face Hardin, Livingston, and Lewistown.
No. 1 singles' player Teri Sherrill boasts a 22-3 overall record this season.
Senior Crystal Heggen, with a record of 19-5, will fill the No. 2 singles' spot.
Nichole Borst advanced into the No. 3 singles' spot. The senior was formerly the No. 4 player where she had a record of 15-10.
The fourth singles' position is still up for grabs, with freshmen Pyrak and Shrauger in contention.
In doubles' action, Tiffany Shrauger and Kirsten Kuka remain stable in the No. 1 spot.
The two will face the tough doubles' duo of Bausch and Bausch Christine and Angela from Livingston, who is the defending state girls' champion. The Bausch sisters defeated the Shrauger/Kuka team once this season.
"I know this will be a lot different matchup," Dierman said. "We are playing a lot better now."
The two boast a record of 13-8.
Jana McPherson and Sam Velk will play together for the first time, after both of them lost their doubles' partner.
"Although they have not played yet together, I still think they have an excellent chance to make it to state," Dierman said.
Gorder and Hamilton, a strong junior varsity duo, will play No. 3 doubles.
On the boys' side, Mike Frey, a member of the No. 1 doubles' team, is out with a shoulder injury and is questionable to return by tournament-time.
His partner, Seth Maristuen, will double with Kellen Malone, the Ponies' No. 1 singles' player, or Nick Heninger, the Ponies No. 2 singles' player.
"Even without Mike, our boys should be heavy favorites to win divisional," Dierman said.
Terrance Wells, freshman Cody McLain, and Andrew McLain will fill the Nos. 2, 3, and 4 singles' spots.
Tyler Croft and Levi LaPrath are the No. 2 doubles' team and Jeremy Heninger and Tyler Vincent are No. 3.
The boys will face Hardin and Lewistown on Saturday.
The boys boast a record of 117-40, while the girls are 117-53. Every player has a plus-.500 record.
"Every kid on our team has a winning record," Dierman said. "They all have experienced success and we have been playing some tough competition."
Action at Lewistown kicks off at 9:15 a.m. with Havre meeting the Hardin girls.