The Havre High tennis teams are in Cut Bank today and Saturday for some big duals against Class A rivals from the west. But the busy weekend will spill over into next week for the Blue Pony netters.
Monday, the Ponies will host the rescheduled Havre Invitational tennis tournament. The tourney was slated for April 12 but was moved to Monday because of inclement weather. The move wasn't ideal as the Ponies would normally have many more matches under their belt heading into to today's meet in Cut Bank, but head coach George Ferguson says it was important to move the Havre Invite rather than try to play it and run the risk of it getting canceled.
"We don't get the opportunity to play on hour home courts but once a year usually," Ferguson, who's in his 11th season at the helm in Havre said. "So being able to reschedule the Havre Invitational was a big deal for us. We're proud of our home tournament, and we wanted to do everything we could to give our kids the opportunity to play on our home courts. So, hopefully the weather holds up for Monday, and we're very grateful to the other teams for working with us to reschedule the tournament."
The other teams in attendance Monday will be the Lewistown Eagles, Conrad Cowboys and Cowgirls and the Cut Bank Wolves. The Havre Invitational is a tournament format with brackets for 1-2 singles and 3-4 singles in both boys and girls, as well as a bracket for boys doubles and girls doubles.
And this year, the Havre Invite will have a new feature, as the tournament will be held not just at the Bill Vaughey Memorial Tennis Courts, but also the brand new courts at Montana State University-Northern.
"We have been using only four courts for the last seven years," Ferguson said. "So we're very excited to have the college courts back. It means we can be more flexible with our match schedule and the scoring format, and those two new courts give us a chance to run a much better tournament all the way around. So those courts are a blessing for not only our program, but the entire Havre tennis community."
Havre's lineup will be similar to what the Ponies have in Cut Bank this weekend, with Jeff Miller, Zach Hellegaard, Jerod Boles and Jamie Lieberg playing varsity singles and Ned Malone and Brian Smith, Noah Landgraf and Wyatt Lindbloom, and Jake Sedahl and Nate Korb playing varsity doubles. On the girls side, Brandy Lambourne, Tatiana Ralph, Shannon Herring and Megan Smith will play varsity singles, while Ellery Bresler and Breck Don, Morgan Jappe and Haley Graham, and Madison Huebsch and Rainey Stoner will play varsity doubles.
The Havre Invite also gives the Havre junior varsity players time on the home court participating in Monday’s meet. On the boys side, Jeff Ralph, Patrick Leeds, Dustin Haas, Kyle Kirkpatrick and James Berry will all play on their home courts, as will Alara Vogel, Ashley Hoffland, Kaylee Nash and Corttney Gobin for the Pony girls.
“That’s a big part of why our tournament is important,” Ferguson said. “All of our kids get the chance to compete, but also compete at home, in front of friends and family. We only get that opportunity once a year, so it means a lot to the kids and it means a lot to our program.
“It should be a great day of tennis,” Ferguson added. “The Havre Invite is special to all of us, and we’re glad we were able to reschedule it. It should be an exciting day for all of our kids.”
The 2014 Havre Invitational tennis tournament will get underway Monday at 8 a.m. at both the Bill Vaughey Memorial Tennis Courts and the courts at MSU-Northern.