Both the Havre High boys and girls golf programs have gone through a roller coaster of ups and downs over the last several seasons. But as a solid returning core and good group of newcomers hit the links this season, things are once again looking up.
Thursday the Central A Blue Ponies will get their season started at 9:30 a.m. at Prairie Farms Golf Course, as they host Great Falls, Lewistown and Browning.
It’s a new season for the Ponies, and second-year head coach Mckinsey Rodriguez has a lot to look forward to.
Rebecca Martin is the only major loss from last year’s team, but takes her state qualifying talent with her. But fortunately for the Ponies, Simon McCann, Sam Lippy and Ramsey Drew all return for the boys team, while Katie Beck returns for the girls squad. McCann qualified for state last season, and was the teams MVP. And Beck also returns after qualifying for state a year ago and should lead the way for the girls.
Boston Swenson and Samantha French will also be key for the girls this season, both seeing state action a year ago. And Miguel Ley, Trey Schofield, Trey Brown and David Denny will all make an impact again this year for the boys, as they have all shown good improvement already this early in the season.
“I definitely see the team more advanced from when I took over last year,” Rodriguez said. “Just in practices the scores have dropped by at least an average of 10 strokes for everybody. I really feel that we are improving, maybe not to the point to where we are going to take a whole team to state, but by the end of the season I would like to see that happen.”
And with no clear cut leader in the division, Havre could very well make that giant step into taking a complete team to state.
The Blue Pony schedule starts out fairly slow, but the competition builds fast as the season progresses. And when the Ponies finally meet up with teams like Billings and Laurel, they will truly be tested.
“We start out pretty easy,” Rodriguez said. “But the competition really picks up. When we face teams like Billings and Laurel, that’s when we will really see the teams we will be competing with at divisionals and state. But we will see how we match up from there.”
Overall, this season looks to be a promising one for both the boys and girls squads. The boys have a hand up, with more returning varsity contributors, but with a total of 12 girls coming out for the team this year, they should hopefully have a lot of up and coming talent to make a name for themselves this season.
HHS will get its season started on Thursday when they host Browning, Great Falls and Lewistown. And while the Ponies should be able to compete with the favored Great Falls golfers, there is still building to be done before the state tournament.
“I am more optimistic about this season,” Rodriguez said. “And with the talent we have, I don’t want to just take individuals to state, I want to take a couple of full teams to state.”