Havre Daily News sports editor
The Chinook Sugarbeeters girls tennis team has had a longstanding rivalry with Northeast B stalwarts Fort Benton and Chester/J-I.
But on Saturday at the Bill Vaughey Memorial Tennis Courts in Havre, the Beeters found a way to rise above both the Hawks and the Longhorns, and capture the 2006 Northeast B Divisional tennis crown, if even by the slimmest of margins.
Chinook defeated Chester/J-I by scoring 43 points to the Hawks' 42 points. Fort Benton was a distant third with 20 points, and Big Sandy was fourth with 13 points.
The Beeters got a divisional championship in doubles from the team of Morgan Obie and Sarah Harshman. The Chinook tandem defeated Fort Benton's top duo of Carol'Ann Spaabeck and Rachel Pottenger in the championship match by scores of 6-1 and 6-1.
But what helped the Beeters overcome a strong C/J-I singles contingent was the play of its No. 2 doubles team and senior Georgia Barber.
Chinook's No. 2 tandem of Gen Burkhartsmeyer and Darcie Mohar bounced back from a tough semifinal loss to finish fourth in the doubles competition. In the consolation match, the Chinook tandem lost to Chester/J-I's No. 1 team of Mary DeVries and Brianne Stokes by scores of 6-2, 6-1.
The Hawks' win in the doubles' consolation match appeared to have them poised for the team title, especially since Amanda Violett defeated teammate JoAnna LaSorte in the championship match of the singles draw.
But Chinook's veteran senior Barber bounced back from a loss to LaSorte in the semifinals to finish fourth and earn Chinook enough team points to pull ahead of the Hawks. In the consolation match, Barber fell to Big Sandy's Charlene Yingcharoen.
The Beeters' cause was also aided by the steady play of Rebecca Blankenship and Dawn Kellam in the singles draw. Both players won multiple matches in the tournament, helping the deeper Beeters to the team title. Blankenship wound up defeating Kellam to finish fifth, and both players will advance to the state tournament along with Violett, LaSorte, Yingcharoen and Barber.
Moving on in doubles will be Obie and Harshman, Spaabeck and Pottenger, DeVries and Stokes, Burkhartsmeyer and Mohar as well as Cassie Allison and Jessica Lindsey of Fort Benton and Candice Osterman and Sarah Markuson of C/J-I.
The 2006 Class B-C state tennis tournament will get under way Thursday morning in Missoula.
Northeast B/C Girls
Chinook 43; C/J-I 42; Fort Benton 20; Big Sandy 13.
Rebecca Blankenship, CK, def Abby Johnson, CK, 5-7, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4; Julie Stevenson,FB, def Tabitha Brown, C-J-I, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4; Dawn Kellam, CK, def Shalayna Pearson, BS, 6-3, 6-0; Shayna Acord, FB, def Ashley Martin, C/J-I, 6-3, 6-3.
Amanda Violett, C/J-I, def Charlene Yingcharoen, BS, 6-4, 6-4; JoAnna LaSorte, C/J-I, def Georgia Barber, CK, 6-1, 2-6, 6-2.
Rebecca Blankenship, CK, def Julie Stevenson, FB, 6-1, 6-2; Dawn Kellam, CK, def Shayna Acord, FB, 6-3, 6-4; Charlene Yingcharoen, BS, def Dawn Kellam, CK, 6-1, 6-1; Georgia Barber def Rebecca Blankenship, CK.
Charlene Yingcharoen, BS, def Georgia Barber, CK.
Amanda Violett, C/J-I, def JoAnna LaSorte, C/J-I.
Carol'Ann Spaabeck/Rachel Pottenger, FB, def Gen Burkhartsmeyer/Darcie Mohar, CK, 6-1, 6-3; Morgan Obie/Sara Harshman, CK, def Mary DeVries/Brianne Stokes, C/J-I, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5).
DeVries/Stokes, C/J-I, def Burkhartsmeyer/Mohar, CK, 6-2, 6-1.
Obie/Harshman, CK, def Spaabeck/Pottenger, FB, 6-1, 6-1.