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HHS tennis teams set for the Conrad Duals

 

Last updated 4/3/2014 at 1:28pm

Daniel Horton

Havre High senior Brian Smith strikes a backhand during the 2013 Havre Invitational tennis tournament last April in Havre. Smith and the Blue Ponies are in Conrad Saturday for the annual Conrad Duals.

It’s week two of the Havre High tennis season, and the Blue Ponies are looking to get another full day of tennis in.

Saturday, Havre will attend the Conrad Duals, where the Pony boys and girls teams will face off against Cut Bank, Conrad and Lewistown. Havre competed in a tournament format at last Saturday’s Cut Bank Invitational, so Saturday will be the Ponies’ first try at team duals.

However, HHS head coach George Ferguson said the format isn’t nearly as important as just playing more matches at this point in the season.

“Right now, all we’re looking to do is improve,” Ferguson said. “Duals give kids a chance to do that because everybody is guaranteed three matches, and each player or doubles team will be matched up against kids or teams with pretty equal skill level. So this Saturday will give us a great opportunity to get better.”

And getting better is paramount for the Ponies right now, as they have essentially missed a full week of outdoor practice in a season that Ferguson said will go by really fast. Last week in Cut Bank, the Ponies played with mixed lineups in Cut Bank, and didn’t face off against Lewistown. So Ferguson is excited to see the Eagles in Conrad, as well as have a more full strength lineup.

“It will be good to get a look at Lewistown,” Ferguson said. “Although I don’t think they’ll have their full varsity teams this weekend, or next weekend at our tournament. But we’ll still see some of them.

“But again, for us, Conrad is about improving,” he continued. “We want to see all of our kids get more comfortable playing competitive matches and continue to knock the rust off. The season is going to start going really fast now, so this weekend is going to be an important step for our players. The goal is to just play well, win or lose.”

As for the Ponies’ lineups, Havre will still be moving some things around some, but for the most part, the varsity lineups are taking shape.

On the boys side, Jeff Miller is at No. 1 singles, followed by Zach Hellegaard, Jerod Boles and Jamie Lieberg. In doubles, Ned Malone and Brian Smith are No. 1, Noah Landgraf and Wyatt Lindbloom are No. 2 and Jake Sedahl and Nate Korb are at No. 3. Korb won’t be making the trip to Conrad though, so Ferguson will adjust the lineup.

The girls’ lineup has Brandy Lambourne at No. 1 singles, with Tatiana Ralph, Shannon Herring and Ashley Hoffland behind her. In doubles, Breck Don and Ellery Bresler are No. 1, Haley Graham and Morgan Jappe are No. 2 and Madison Huebsch and Rainey Stoner are No. 3.

“This is another week where we have some kids playing for the first time this season,” Ferguson said. “So we expect some bumps in the road. But again, we’re not looking at wins and losses right now, we’re looking at how we’re playing and we’re looking at getting the most out of every time we step on the court.”

Saturday’s Conrad Invitational starts at 10 a.m. The Blue Ponies play Lewistown then, Cut Bank at 12 p.m. and Conrad at 6 p.m. Havre will also be sending a junior varsity team to Cut Bank Saturday.

 

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