By Kim Staudinger
Unlike the other Havre High School spring sports teams, the tennis team is preparing for its third weekend of competition.
While the golf teams have been battling frozen ground and the track teams have been fighting with having a track in unusable condition, the Havre tennis team has been able to compete on indoor courts one weekend before having suitable weather to play outside last weekend.
Adding to the already-crazed town Havre will be this weekend, the tennis team is also hosting its invitational tournament. Lewistown and Conrad will be bringing both boys and girls teams to town Saturday with Chinook, Big Sandy, Chester and Choteau adding girls teams into the mix. Cut Bank had originally scheduled to have both boys and girls teams at the meet, but now will bring only the boys team.
The girls will be missing two players due to vacations, but expect to have a full team with at least 14 girls competing. For the boys, 12 will participate.
The girls playing singles for the Ponies are Amy McLain, Taylor Donaldson, Laura Hedstrom and Brittne Zimmer. The doubles teams will be Jennifer Gorder and Ryan Hamilton, Casey Peterson and Erika Johnson, and Sara Suek and Mallory Cresswell.
For the boys, Cody McLain, Kyle Baltrusch, Andrew McLain and Tyler Vincent will be playing singles with Seth Maristuen and Jeremy Heninger, Mike Frey and Daine Solomon, Marc Mariani and Gary Wagner, and Ian Spencer and Lucas Hamilton playing doubles.
Havre coach Sam Dierman said he is excited to see his teams have some tough competition this weekend, and hopes for a good showing.
"Conrad's girls will be real tough," Dierman said. "Big Sandy has a real good doubles team, Chinook has some veteran players and Chester has been real tough the last few years.
"It will be a good look at a lot of these girls. I am interested to see how we do against Chester and Conrad. It will be really good for our girls doubles teams as they haven't played much in competition these first weeks."
For the boys, Dierman said, Cut Bank has a strong team, with two tough singles players, including a sophomore who is the defending state B-C champion. Dierman also said Conrad will bring some tough competition as will Lewistown.
"The boys competition should be real interesting," he said. "Conrad, Cut Bank and Lewistown are just as good as a lot of the AAs."
This weekend is the only time the Havre boys team will be in Havre for a tournament.
The No. 1 and No. 2 girls singles brackets, along with the No. 1 doubles bracket will be played at the high school courts. The No. 1 and No. 2 boys singles and all the boys doubles teams will be at the college courts as will the No. 3 and No. 4 girls singles and the girls No. 2 doubles teams. The No. 3 and No. 4 boys singles teams will play at the courts at Carpenter Park. Play begins at 8 a.m.
The tournament should be very competitive with a lot of players who bring state tournament experience, Dierman said.
"I feel a lot more confident because we have had three pretty good practices this week," he added. "I think we've done some of the things we've needed to."
Some of those things, Dierman said, are working on volleys for the doubles teams and being more consistent with groundstrokes for the singles teams.
"I'm hopeful we give a good showing because it's our own invitational," Dierman said. "The kids usually have a pretty good showing at home."
After this weekend, the Ponies begin playing some Class AA schools, which makes a strong showing this weekend even more important.
"I'm hoping we perform better than we did last week," Dierman said. "We need to have a good weekend going into the AAs."