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Pony netters get another shot at home


April 13, 2018

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Katie Donaldson and the Havre High tennis teams are hoping to host Hardin and Lewistown today and Saturday at the Bill Vaughey Memorial Tennis Courts. The Blue Ponies had to cancel last weekend's Havre Invitational.

One week ago, the Havre High tennis teams were in a tough spot, having to call off their 2018 Havre Invitational tennis tournament. Now however, the Ponies might just get the chance to play at home that they were hoping for.

Weather permitting, the Ponies will be at the Bill Vaughey Memorial Tennis Courts today and Saturday for duals against the Hardin Bulldogs and Lewistown Eagles. Havre was scheduled to attend the Class A Duals today and Saturday in Cut Bank, but that meet was moved to Polson due to impending snow storms, but with the forecast looking decent for Havre this weekend, the Ponies, Bulldogs and Eagles decided to get together in Havre instead.

"The bottom line is, we just want to make sure we get tennis matches in this weekend," Havre head coach George Ferguson said. "This weather is still being crazy, and with what was forecast for Marias Pass and Glacier Park, we weren't certain we could even travel to Polson this weekend. We didn't know if we would even be able to get there, and then we would have had no options if we couldn't compete there. So this plan to play in Havre is what we came up with.

"Now we just hope the weather cooperates," Ferguson continued, "because if it does, this will work out great. We'll get to play a lot of tennis against two very competitive opponents the next two days, and we will have gotten to play on our home courts, which is something we didn't think we were going to get to do only a few days ago. So now all we need is Mother Nature to help us out for a day and a half."

If Mother Nature does her part, the Ponies will get the opportunity to finally compete against some new faces. Through last Saturday, Havre's varsity teams have only played against Cut Bank twice, so Ferguson said, getting to play Hardin and Lewistown will be an exciting step forward for his teams.

"We have been so fortunate that coach Jim Gregg at Cut Bank has had us down to their gym twice, or we wouldn't have played at all up to this point," Ferguson said. "But we're looking forward to getting a chance to play some of our Class A rivals this weekend. Hardin is always very solid in both boys and girls tennis. They have a great program going down there right now, and they'll be a tremendous challenge for our kids, as they always are. And this will be our first chance to play Lewistown this year. Usually, we've already seen them three or four times by now. That's how crazy this spring has been, that we haven't even played against Lewistown yet. So we're looking forward to it."

As for the weekend, it won't be quite the same as the Havre Invite. Normally, the Havre tournament is a bracket-style event, but because of the schedule changes, and everything that went into putting all this together on short notice, Havre, Hardin and Lewistown will play varsity-only duals. Today, Havre is set to take on Hardin, and then Hardin plays Lewistown. Hardin and Lewistown will meet again Saturday morning, followed by the Ponies taking on Hardin and finishing up the day with Havre battling Lewistown.

"The plan is to get all these kids as much tennis as we can this weekend," Ferguson said. "None of the three of us (Havre, Lewistown, Hardin), has played much comeptitive tennis yet this season, let alone, practiced outside that much. So all we want to get out of this is for everyone to go home feeling good about the amount of tennis we got to play. We all just need that on-court experience right now, and hopefully, we'll all get that over the next two days."

As much tennis as possible is the goal, but Havre will also get to do something else, the Ponies didn't think possible this season - play at home.

"That's exciting," Ferguson said. "Our kids work really hard. They're out there in the cold and wind and snow, and every condition you can throw at them. And especially this year, with how hard they worked, and all that snow they shoveled off those courts, playing at home is really important to them. So hopefully, they get the opportunity to enjoy that this weekend, and I know if they do, they'll make the most out of it."

Weather permitting, the make-shift Havre Invitational is scheduled to start this afternoon, and run through Saturday evening at both the Bill Vaughey Memorial Tennis Courts and the courts at MSU-Northern.

Saturday, Havre seniors Megan Lindbloom, Marca Herron, Baylee Miller, Katie and Alex Donaldson, Paige Nelson, Trey Murphy, Kennedy McKay, Brady Ophus, Vander Swensen and Kendall Holden will also be honored.


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