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HHS tennis teams face some of the best in Class A

The Havre High tennis teams are coming off a long, but successful showing at the Havre Invitational on Monday. Now, the Ponies turn their attention to a road trip with five duals against top-notch competition.

Today and Saturday, the Pony boys and girls are in Cut Bank for the annual Class A Duals – a tournament which HHS head coach George Ferguson says is vital to his team's progression.

"The Havre Invitational is kind of the end of the first portion of our season," Ferguson said. "The next four weeks, the competition gets a lot more difficult. But our goals are the same. Win or lose, we just want to keep improving. Keep moving forward. We don't want to suffer any setbacks.

"This weekend in Cut Bank is one of only two times all year where we're head-to-head against a lot of our Class A peers. So it's a true test of where our kids are at."

The Ponies will face Polson, Hardin and Libby today. Then return to Cut Bank to take on Lewistown and the host Wolves on Saturday. The Polson girls are an early favorite to capture the Class A state team title, while the Pirate boys are much-improved. The Hardin boys will also be a big test for the Ponies as the Bulldogs return the bulk of their team that placed third at state a year ago. The Libby girls are also strong this season.

"Both our teams are going to play a higher level of opponent this weekend," Ferguson said. "And that's good for all of our players. The better and more difficult the competition, the better you're going to be in the long run. Our goal is to play as well as we can and compete. It's still April, so no one is going to qualify for the state meet this weekend. We just want to play better this weekend then we did on Monday."

Seniors Justin Jensen and Brayden Grimson will man the top two singles spots for the Pony boys. Ned Malone will play No. 3 and Bill Wagner and Jacob Holden will also play singles. Simon McCann and Blaine Grisak will play No. 1 doubles for HHS, while Nick Rhines and Zach Hellegaard and J.J. Hovet and Brian Smith will also play doubles.

On the girls side, Lainey Chagnon and Brandy Lambourne will be on the top of the singles lineup, with Shannon Herring and Tatianna Ralph. Jenn Cichosz and Jade McCormick are Havre's No. 1 doubles team, Breck Don and Ellery Bresler are No. 2 and Morgan Jappe and Haley Graham are No. 3.

"We get vie duals in two days," Ferguson said. "That's a lot of tennis against good competition. This is a very big meet on our schedule and one we look forward to. This is the start of the next phase of our season and we're excited about going down to Cut Bank and competing."


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