Havre Daily News Sports Editor
On a day to play in front of family and friends, the Havre High tennis team made the most of its one home tournament of the season. The Ponies dominated the competition at the Havre Invitational tennis tournament, placing contestants in every finals match and bringing home four titles.
"Overall, we had a very good day," said HHS head coach George Ferguson. "The weather really cooperated and we played a lot of tennis. I liked what I saw out of most of our kids. I think we definitely got better this week, and that is what you want to see so early in the year."
As expected, HHS senior Amy McLain took home the girls singles title with relative ease, defeating Kristi Reis of Conrad 8-5 in championship match.
"Amy pretty much cruised to her third straight Havre Invitational championship," Ferguson said. "She had a pretty tough match in the championship against Reis, but she played really smart, tough tennis and she got the job done."
But McLain wasn't the only Pony girls singles player to shine. Havre's No. 2 player Megan Rice and No. 4 player Katie Mariani battled through the loser's bracket to reach the consolation finals. The duo opted not to play the match because of Havre's Junior Prom.
"What really impressed me was the play of our other three singles players" Ferguson said. "Katie is our No. 4 singles player and she knocked off Cut Bank's No. 1 and Lewistown's No. 1 to get to the semifinals. For her first real tournament, she had a great day. Megan lost a heartbreaker to Reis in the quarters, but she stayed really focused and battled back to get into the consolation match. I was really proud of the way she responded to losing the quarterfinal match.
Havre's No. 3 player Karissa Olson was also solid, despite being under the weather. Olson won three matches before falling to Rice in the loser-out bracket.
"Karissa showed me a lot," Ferguson said. "She was really sick and I didn't really even want her to play. But she insisted on playing and she won a couple of tough matches despite everything. She showed a lot of character by just being out there."
Havre continued its success in the doubles portion, as the No. 1 team of Steph Flatau and Keelie Solomon defeated Devin Nelson and Katie Jackson of Lewistown 8-2 to win the championship. The duo pretty much cruised the bracket to win the title.
"Steph and Keelie also were dominant and are playing exactly how they need to right now," Ferguson said. "They were really never threatened and they looked really sharp the whole day."
In the lower tournament, Havre's Christen Kittelson defeated Kelsey Cooper of Cut Bank to bring home the title. In tdoubles, Chinook's Georgia Barber and Morgan Obie brought home the doubles title, defeating Havre's Alexa Lipp and Jocelyn Chagnon.
On the boys side, Havre got its usual doubles title from Gary Wagner and Marc Mariani, but No. 1 singles player Kyle Baltrusch was upset in the championship by Cut Bank's Brian McDivitt 8-5.
"Kyle had a tough match in the finals," Ferguson said. "For whatever reason, McDivitt has our number a little right now, but Kyle is a champion and he knows what it takes to get to where he needs to be. I have no doubt that he will bounce back just fine."
No. 2 singles player Chase Castloo bounced back from an opening round upset loss, and rallied to finish third, defeating Michael Richter of Lewistown 8-3. Havre's other single players, Scott Miller and Ryan Kinholt each won matches before being eliminated.
"Chase Castloo really impressed me," Ferguson said. "He lost his first match of the day and then came all the way back to finish third. I liked to see that kind of mental toughness from Chase, because it takes a lot to win four matches in a row like that."
In the doubles, Wagner and Mariani defeated teammates Coda Tchida and Billy Wagner in the finals. Having two teams in the finals is always pleasing to Ferguson.
"Our boys doubles teams were also really dominant," Ferguson said. "Coda and Billy looked brilliant in the semifinals against the Grueners from Lewistown. That was a match we had to win because that has implications for us later in the season. They also played really well in the championship, but Marc and Gary are just too much for them right now. Still, Saturday indicated to me that we have two really good doubles teams this year."
In the lower division tournament, Havre freshman David Zentmire lost a tough match to Cut Bank's Brett Cline. Tim McLean of Havre finished fourth. In the doubles, the duo of Patch Wirtzberger and John Christian defeated teammates Jordan Croft and Lucas Hamilton to bring home the title.
"All of our kids had a good day and we got a lot of tennis in," Ferguson said. "I am happy with where we are at going into the tough part of our schedule, but we are really going to have to go back to work hard at practice, because in the next six weeks, the competition level is going to get ratcheted up several notches."
Havre will be in Helena this weekend for the Class AA Helena Invitational.
HAVRE TENNIS INVITATIONAL
No Team Scores Kept.
Championship - Brian McDivitt, CB def. Kyle Baltrusch, HAV, 8-5; Third Place - Chase Castloo, HAV def. Michael Richter, LEW, 8-3. Semifinals - Brian McDivitt, CB def. Michael Richter, LEW, 8-1; Kyle Baltrusch, HAV def. Jer Pearson, CON, 8-1. Other Havre results: Scott Miller def. Cameron McCleery, LEW, 6-3; Jer Pearson, CON def. Miller, 6-4; Miller def. Noel Geiger, CB, 6-3; Michael Richter, LEW def. Miller, 6-4; Ryan Kinholt, def. Jason Fetters, CON, 6-0; McDivitt, CB def. Kinholt, 6-1; Castloo def. Kinholt, 6-2.
Championship - Amy McLain, HAV def. Kristi Reis, CON, 8-5; Third Place - Megan Rice, HAV and Katie Mariani, HAV, DNP; Semifinals - Amy McLain, HAV def. Monica Thackeray, CHI, 8-0; Kristi Reis, CON def. Katie Mariani, HAV, 8-2. Other Havre Results - Monica Thackeray, CHI def. Karissa Olson, 6-4; Olson def. Emily Gordon, LEW, 6-3; Olson def. Jamie Berg, LEW, 6-4; Rice def. Olson, 6-2.
Championship - Marc Mariani/Gary Wagner, HAV def. Coda Tchida/Billy Wagner, HAV, 8-1; Third Place - Kyle Lewis/Jeff Larson, CB def. Matt Gruener/Stephen Gruener, LEW, 8-3; Semifinals - Marc Mariani/Gary Wagner, HAV def. Kyle Lewis/Jeff Larson, CB, 8-3; Coda Tchida/Billy Wagner, HAV def. Matt Gruener/Stephen Gruener, LEW, 8-3.
Championship - Steph Flatau/Keelie Solomon, HAV def. Devin Nelson/Katie Jackson, LEW, 8-2; Third Place - Melanie Rice/Jessica Jacobsen, CB def. Katie d'Autremont/Ashley Boettger, LEW, 8-1; Semifinals - Steph Flatau/Keelie Solomon, HAV def. Melanie Rice/Jessica Jacobsen, CB, 8-3; Devin Nelson, Katie Jackson, LEW def. Sierra Pimley/Allyson Huhtala, CHE, 8-4. Other Havre results - Kari Gorder/Kristi Hollingshead def. Ellings/Pearson, CON, 6-2; Pimley/Huhtala, CHE def. Gorder/Hollingshead, 6-1; Martin/Harris, CON def. Gorder/Hollingshead, 6-3.
Boys Singles #3
Championship - Brett Cline, CB def. David Zentmire, HAV, Third Place - John Petershick, LEW def. Tim McLean, HAV. Semifinals - David Zentmire, HAV def. Austin Wilson, HAV; Brett Cline, CB def, John Petershick, LEW.
Girls Singles #3
Championship - Christen Kittelson, HAV def. Kelsey Cooper, CB; Third Place - Joanna LaSorte, CHE def. Brooke Johns, CON; Semifinals - Christen Kittelson, HAV def. Jessica Martin, LEW; Kelsey Cooper, CB def. Joanna LaSorte, CHE.
Boys Doubles #3
Patch Wirtzberger/John Christian, HAV def. Lucas Hamilton/Jordan Croft, HAV; Third Place - Steve Paulson/Cody Pyette, CB def. Dale Walker/Troy Leven, LEW.
Girls Doubles #3
Championship - Georgia Barber/Morgan Obie, CHI def. Alexa Lipp/Jocelyn Chagnon, HAV; Third Place - Brianne Schwomeyer/Dagny Morrow, LEW def. Brianna Stokes/Sarah Markuson, CHE.