By Kim Staudinger
This weekend marks the culmination of a near dream season for the defending state champion Havre High School boys golf team.
Four senior boys Nick Obie, Kevin Harada, Troy Toner and Jason Johnstone will end their high school careers Friday at the State Class A Golf Tourament in Whitefish. They have golfed together all four years of high school, mostly on the varsity team. Joining the seniors will be sophomore Trent Normandy.
"I am fairly confident going there that we have a good chance of repeating," Havre coach Keith Evenson said.
With five returning all-staters four from last season it is safe to say the boys are the heavy favorites.
"We are marked, as I think everyone is calling us the team to beat," Obie said.
But playing Whitefish on its home course will not be an easy task. Whitefish beat Havre two years ago on the same course.
"As sophomores, we went in too confident," Obie said. "We left there really disappointed as a team. This year, we're not letting off at all. We know we can do it, but we have to prove it to everyone else."
Said Evenson: "They know they'll have to play well against Whitefish on their own course, and Billings Central will be gunning for us, too."
Obie said that while he would like to repeat as an individual state champion, the team title is more important.
"My goal is to win and for the team to win," he said. "If I as an individual can't win, I want one of the other four Ponies to win it. I would like to see a Havre team title and a Havre individual title. I think that would be a great way to end it for the four years of four seniors."
The girls team snuck into fourth place by one stroke Saturday at the divisional tournament in Butte, which qualified all five golfers for the state tournament. Seniors Julie Wagner and Katie Miller return with state experience. Sophomores Amanda Brock and Shannon Newth and junior Heather Bowker round out the team.
"If they make the top eight, that would be pretty respectable," Evenson said. "I would be happy with the top eight."
Evenson said he also hopes to have a few girls place in the top 10 to receive all-state honors.
The girls will start on the north course today and will play the south course Friday. The boys will start on the south course and then move to the north course.