April 29, 2014 |

Pony tennis teams busy in Great Falls

It’s right back to work for the Havre High boys and girls tennis teams. And today, even more Blue Ponies will get in on the action.

Daniel Horton
Havre High senior Brian Smith swipes a backhand during the 2014 Havre Invitational earlier this month. The Blue Pony tennis teams are in Great Falls today for duals against Butte Central, Lewistown, CMR and Great Falls High.

Havre High travels to Great Falls today for four dual matches, starting with duals against Southwest A stalwart Butte Central and Central A rival Lewistown this morning. This afternoon, Havre will turn its attention to matches against Class AA rivals Great Falls High and CMR.

And with the Blue Ponies coming off a rain-shortened Central A Duals last Saturday in Lewistown, HHS head coach George Ferguson said today’s four matches become even more critical.

“We didn’t play our best in Lewistown, and we didn’t get all of our matches in due to rain,” Ferguson noted. “So Tuesday’s matches in Great Falls will be vital to our progress. Getting to play four full matches in one day is big for us. It’s a chance to get better, to test our conditioning and most importantly, a chance to learn and continue the building process we’re on towards the divisional tournament.”

Speaking of the Central A Divisional, time is ticking away for the Blue Ponies, and that makes today’s match against Lewistown probably the biggest of the entire day according to Coach Ferguson.

“Normally, at this point in our season, we would have played Lewistown in at least three duals, and met them in a couple of tournaments. But this season, we haven’t had that. They weren’t at full strength in Conrad, and we didn’t face off this year in Cut Bank. And then the rain called off the dual we would have had with them last Saturday. So actually, Tuesday will be the first, and only time we go head-to-head with them (Eagles) in a full varsity dual. So it’s going to be a very important match for us.”

Actually, the Blue Pony girls won’t be at full strength today. Seniors Brandy Lambourne and Breck Don and Ellery Bresler and Haley Graham will all be absent because of school obligations. That means junior Tatiana Ralph will step up to the No. 1 singles spot, with Shannon Herring at No. 2 and Morgan Jappe will play No. 3 and Megan Smith at No. 4. In doubles, sophomores Rainey Stoner and Madison Huebsch will move up to the No. 1 spot, while Alara Vogel and Ashley Hoffland and sophomores Corttney Gobin and Kaylee Nash will also team up.

“We would like to have our No. 1’s because they need the matches right now,” Ferguson said. “But Tuesday will be good for our girls to all move up a spot and get tested by a little tougher competition. That will be a good opportunity for them. And for some of our JV players to be able to make this trip, that will be really beneficial to their future as tennis players.”

On the boys side, sophomore Jeff Miller is up to 15-0 singles, but he’ll get tested today, especially against CMR and GFH. Zach Hellegaard plays the No. 2 spot and Jerod Boles is at No. 3. Jamie Lieberg will play No. 4 singles. Seniors Ned Malone and Brian Smith will face some tough competition in every match at the No. 1 spot today. Wyatt Lindbloom and Noah Landgraf are No. 2 for HHS, followed by Jake Sedahl and Nate Korb and fellow freshmen Jeff Ralph and Dustin Haas.

“This will be a big day for our boys team,” Ferguson said. “They will all face good players and good doubles teams. Butte Central is strong in doubles again this year, and of course, it’s always a challenge to move up and dual Class AA teams. So our boys will get a chance to really get tested today.

“The goal for Tuesday is simple,” he continued. “We have to play well. We have to play better than we did on Saturday, win or lose. We need to leave Great Falls feeling good about how we played no matter the results. I don’t think we accomplished that Saturday in Lewistown, and with divisionals only two weeks away, we need to turn that around Tuesday in Great Falls.”

Havre faces the Maroons, Eagles, Bison at Rustlers at various locations today in Great Falls. The Ponies will be back in the Electric City Friday-Saturday for the annual Great Falls Invitational.

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