by Ryan Divish
Havre Daily News Sports Editor
The Havre High tennis teams weren't about to let minor things like frigid temperatures, howling winds or a few snowflakes stop their run of solid tennis. The Ponies dominated the Conrad Invitational as both the boys and girls teams finished 3-0 in dual matches on the day.
"I thought this week went much better than last as a team," HHS head coach George Ferguson. "Collectively, all of the kids looked much sharper on the court and we're getting closer to where we need to be. "
The HHS boys didn't let the absence of three varsity members slow them down. With a revamped lineup, Havre still remained undefeated in dual matches this season.
The Ponies opened with a 4-1 win over Lewistown. Kyle Baltrusch, Scott Miller and Ryan Kinholt swept the singles matches and Jordan Croft and Lucas Hamilton defeated Troy Leven and Cameron McLeery 6-0 in doubles. The doubles team of Marc Mariani and Billy Wagner were upset by Stephen and Matt Gruener.
Havre then steamrolled Cut Bank 6-0. Baltrusch, Mariani, Miller and Kinholt swept the singles matches, while Wagner and John Christian and Croft and Hamilton won their doubles matches with ease.
The Ponies ended their day with a 4-2 defeat of Conrad. Wagner and John Christian teamed up to win a tough 6-5 match over Justin Jones and Dan Murr in the doubles. Baltrusch, Mariani and Kinholt also scored victories in the singles.
"We were without a good portion of our boys team, so we had to mix and match a little," Ferguson said. "But Kyle played well for his first week and Marc Mariani didn't miss a beat playing singles. Ryan Kinholt has also been playing really well this season, and he is undefeated so far this year for us."
While the Ponies were missing some players from their boys team, the girls team was at full strength for the first time this season and looked outstanding.
The Pony girls blanked Central A rival Lewistown 6-0 in dominant fashion. Havre's singles lineup of Amy McLain, Megan Rice, Karissa Olson and Katie Mariani cruised to victories, losing just one game in the four matches.
In doubles, the No. 1 team of Keelie Solomon and Steph Flatau looked solid in their first match together this season, defeating Katie Jackson and Merrick Carpenter 6-2. The No. 2 team of Kari Gorder and Kristi Hollingshead also picked up a 6-2 win over Allisyn Bent and Karrie Bostrom.
Havre continued its dominance with a 6-0 win over Cut Bank. The Ponies doubles squads didn't lose a game in the two matches, while the singles players were equally as dominant. Solomon and Flatau defeated Jessica Jacobsen and Fallon Fauque 6-0, while Gorder and Hollingshead defeated Catlyn Brown and Callie Cooper 6-0.
In the final dual, the Ponies finally lost a match but still defeated Conrad 5-1.
McLain, Olson and Mariani all picked up wins in the singles matches, while Solomon and Flatau and Gorder and Hollingshead were also victorious.
"Our girls team had a really good day," Ferguson said. "Amy looked really sharp as did all of our singles players. Steph and Keelie were on the court together for the first time this year, and I thought they also played pretty good.
"Kari and Kristi also looked even better this week, and they are really showing that our doubles are going to have some depth this season."
Perhaps the most pleasing thing to Ferguson was his teams' ability to play despite the elements.
"I liked the mental toughness that a lot of our kids showed this weekend," Ferguson said. "The weather was absolutely horrible and we actually played better than we did last week against the same competition."
But there is still work to be done. And Ferguson hopes the improvement will continue at Saturday's Havre Invitational.
"The good thing is also after the tournament a lot of the kids were still talking about needing to get better," Ferguson said. "That shows me that they are all hungry to keep improving and that they know it is really early in the season."
Havre 4, Lewistown 1
Kyle Baltrusch, HAV def. Kevin Selph, LEW 6-0; Scott Miller, HAV def. Shane Emerson, LEW 6-2; Ryan Kinholt, HAV def. Lerr Druskell, LEW 6-2.
Stephen Gruener/Matt Gruener, LEW def. Marc Mariani/Billy Wagner, HAV 6-1; Jordan Croft/Lucas Hamilton, HAV def. Troy Leven/Cameron McCleery, LEW 6-0.
Havre 6, Cut Bank 0
Kyle Baltrusch, HAV def. Kyle Lewis, CB 6-1; Marc Mariani, HAV def. Brian McDivitt, CB 6-4; Scott Miller, HAV def. Steven Paulson, CB 6-1; Ryan Kinholt, HAV def. Andy Halverson, CB 6-1.
Billy Wagner/John Christian, HAV def. Matt Whelchel/Garrett Meznarich, CB 6-4; Jordan Croft/Lucas Hamilton, HAV def. Noel Geiger/Brett Cline, CB 6-4.
Havre 4, Conrad 2
Kyle Baltrusch, HAV def. Jerrod Pearson, CON 6-3; Marc Mariani, HAV def. Garrett Rasmussen, CON 6-1; Jordan Cobb, CON def. Scott Miller, HAV 6-4; Ryan Kinholt, HAV def. Kidron Cobb, CON 6-1.
Billy Wagner/John Christian, HAV def. Justin Jones/Dan Murr, CON 6-5 (7-3); Jacob Schlosser/Thad Zempel, CON def. Jordan Croft/Lucas Hamilton, HAV, 6-3.
Havre 6, Lewistown 0
Amy McLain, HAV def. Jessica Martin, LEW 6-1; Megan Rice, HAV def. Megan Klippenes, LEW, 6-0; Karissa Olson, HAV def. Risa Stivers, LEW 6-0; Katie Mariani, HAV def. Allison Spika, LEW 6-0.
Keelie Solomon/Steph Flatau, HAV def. Katie Jackson/Merrick Carpenter, LEW 6-2; Kari Gorder/Kristi Hollingshead, HAV def. Allisyn Bent/Karrie Bostrom, LEW 6-2.
Havre 6, Cut Bank 0
Amy McLain def. Leah Gregg, CB 6-1; Megan Rice, HAV def. Trisha Bauer, CB 6-2; Karissa Olson, HAV def. Rikki Ollinger, CB 6-1; Katie Mariani, HAV def, Alysa Geiger, CB 6-0.
Keelie Solomon/Steph Flatau, HAV def. Jessica Jacobsen/Fallon Fauque, CB 6-0; Kari Gorder/Kristi Hollingshead, HAV def. Catlyn Brown/Callie Cooper, CB 6-0.
Havre 5, Conrad 1
Amy McLain, HAV def. Kristi Reis, CON 6-3; Amber Keil, CON def. Megan Rice, HAV 6-1; Karissa Olson, HAV def. Zoe Yeager, CON 6-3; Katie Mariani, HAV def. Anna Pearson, CON 6-2.
Keelie Solomon/Steph Flatau, HAV def. Mikal Martin/Jessica Harris, CON 6-0; Kari Gorder/Kristi Hollingshead, HAV def. Michelle Schramm/ Amanda Judisch, CON 6-1.