CORVALLIS – The Corvallis girls’ tennis team a big step toward defending its 2013 state title with a dominating finish in Southwestern A divisional play on Saturday.
The Blue Devils piled up 78 points, which was more than double the total of runner-up Dillon with 35. Corvallis players took the singles and doubles crowns and the consolation singles and doubles titles.
“It was just amazing the level of focus these girls had,” Blue Devils coach Mike Fehr said. “They were just pointed straight ahead at getting it done. We had young players that stepped up and our veterans took care of business.”
Laramie McHugh beat Corvallis teammate Roxy Rademacher in the singles final, 6-0, 6-1. Amber Wissenbach of the Blue Devils, who didn’t even play tennis until this year, took third in singles.
In doubles, the Corvallis team of Emma Decker and Annie Sangster took first with a win over Holly Hansen and Taryn Judge of Dillon in the final, 6-0, 6-3.
The Corvallis boys also took top honors in Southwestern A divisionals at Hamilton. They scored 54 points to edge Stevensville by three.
DJ Pekoc topped Blue Devils teammate Alma Powell in the singles final, 6-3, 7-6 (1). In doubles, Corvallis scored crucial points on Saturday.
“The key was that our doubles boys, who lost at the beginning of the tournament, came back through the back draw and kept coming and decided today they were going to give it their best shot,” Corvallis coach Chris Maul-Smith said. “They were able to win that (consolation) final match. All the points add up, but that particular match helped to win it for us because it was against Stevensville and worth four points.”
Porter Jessop and Shade Jessop were the heroes for the Blue Devils in the consolation final. They defeated Colton Belcourt and Joseph Fecteau of the Yellowjackets, 6-3, 6-4.
The Class A state meet will be held Thursday through Saturday in Billings.
Southwestern A divisional
Corvallis 78, Dillon 35, Stevensville 20, Hamilton 13, Butte Central 6.
Laramie McHugh, Cor, def. Roxy Rademacher, Cor, 6-0, 6-1.
Amber Wissenbach, Cor, def. Lakota Brist, S, 7-5, 6-1; Allison Enzler, S, def. Shelby Jessop, Cor, 7-5, 2-3 (def.).
Wissenbach def. Enzler, 6-1, 7-5.
Emma Decker/Annie Sangster, Cor, def. Holly Hansen/Taryn Judge, D, 6-0, 6-3.
Dakota Vaccaro/Miriam Montgomery, Cor, def. Kodi Ferris/Rachael Nye, D, 7-5, 7-6 (5).
Corvallis 54, Stevensville 51, Butte Central 24, Dillon 18, Hamilton 2.
DJ Pekoc, Cor, def. Alma Powell, Cor, 6-3, 7-6 (1).
Curtis Liston, S, def. Joseph Daniels, S, 4-6, 6-1, 6-0; Mark Waldrup, D, def. Pablo Hernandez, S, 6-2, 6-4.
Liston def. Waldrup, 7-5, 6-1.
Kale Guldseth/Tyler Trudnowski, BC, def. Lars Larson/Walker Weber, 3-6, 6-2, 6-0.
Porter Jessop/Shade Jessop, Cor, def. Logan Hall/Jonathan Leonardson, D, 6-4, 6-1; Colton Belcourt/Joseph Fecteau, S, def. Caleb Powell/Tristan Warnken, Cor, 7-5, 3-6, 6-4.
P. Jessop/Sh. Jessop def. Belcourt/Fecteau, 6-3, 6-4.
HHS boys continue Central A tennis dynasty
May 19, 2014
Central A Division tennis titles are nothing new to the Havre Blue Ponies. But their most recent one was one of dominance. But in recent years, the Ponies have been winning divisional titles by very slim margins.
Not this weekend in Bozeman, however.
Havre scored 48 points, swept the singles and doubles titles and routed the rest of the field at the 2014 Central A tennis tournament Thursday-Friday in Bozeman. Anaconda was a distant second with 30 points, while Lewistown scored 26 and Livingston had 20.
Leading the way for the Blue Ponies were seniors Ned Malone and Brian Smith in doubles and sophomore phenom Jeff Miller in singles. Miller captured his second straight Central A title, while Malone and Smith went into the divisional tournament as the No. 2 seed and a first-year doubles team, but wound up dominating the rest of field en route to the doubles title.
"Couldn't be more proud of our boys team," said HHS head coach George Ferguson. "We went in expecting a really close race, and then I was thinking things might even be closer because we had some upsets happen to us early on. But at the end of the day, our 10 boys were clearly heads and shoulders above the other three teams this weekend. Our guys went to Bozeman and were really focused. They really took care of business down there, and they really left little doubt. Collectively, we played our best tennis of the season, and that was the goal. But it's easy to say it, it's not as easy to do it. But our guys did, and the result was a very dominating performance."
The result was Havre's 11th divisional championship under Ferguson and its 18th in the last 19 years. So clearly, the Pony boys are the undisputed kings of the Central A. And they played like it in Bozeman.
Miller was never so much as threatened in his three matches in Bozeman. He dispatched Livingston senior John Potenburg 6-3, 6-1 in the final, improving to 23-3 on the season, and he heads into the state tournament as one of the top singles contenders.
"Jeff did what Jeff has been doing all season long," Ferguson said. "He dominated his opponents. Jeff has come a long way in a year and he was really good last year. But he's just matured so much as a tennis player that he just makes it look so much easier this season. And he really made the divisional tournament look easy. It's already his second divisional championship, and he's still young. Jeff was awesome this weekend. I can't really put it any better than that."
But while Miller was expected to win a divisional title with ease, Malone and Smith didn't have that luxury going in. Malone played singles for his first three years of high school tennis, while Smith was playing with his third doubles partner in three years. However, on Friday, the duo looked like a team that had been playing together for years. The tandem demolished Lewistown stalwarts Zach Hould and Bryson Behl in the semifinals, then dismantled top-seeded Dennis Stanberry and Jackson Wagner of Anaconda, 6-1, 6-0 in the final. The win avenged a loss to the Copperhead duo earlier in the season, and it capped off a brilliant day of tennis for the Blue Pony duo.
"If anybody at that tournament deserved the feeling of winning a divisional championship, it was Ned and Brian," Ferguson said. "They have both worked so hard for four years, have put so much dedication and pride into our program, and both have come up short in different ways the last three years. So I'm just so happy and excited for those guys.
"Going into the tournament, they weren't the favorite, according to some," he added. "But they were far and away the best team in Bozeman. After they worked out some early nerves, they played beautiful, flawless, dominating doubles. They served well, they hit their spots precisely and they absolutely owned the net. They smothered and suffocated two strong doubles teams in the semis and final. They just never let those teams breath. It was doubles at its best, and I am just so impressed and proud of the way they played. I'm still just really excited talking about it, because they really were that good. They were pretty much untouchable this weekend and I couldn't be happier for those two."
Doubles was kind to the Blue Ponies all tournament long. The junior tandem of Noah Landgraf and Wyatt Lindbloom reached the semifinals, then won a tight match over the Anaconda No. 2 before eventually finishing fourth behind Hould and Behl of Lewistown. Meanwhile, the freshmen tandem of Jake Sedahl and Nate Korb also scored three big points for the Ponies, including a first-round win.
"We played well in doubles this weekend," Ferguson said. "And what's interesting about that is, we have three doubles teams who were all playing their first divisional tournament as teams. And our No. 3 were freshmen who only started playing tennis three months ago, really. So I was very excited about what we accomplished on the doubles side. Getting Wyatt and Noah through to state is a big coup for us. Those guys have played well all season, but like the others, they are a new doubles team. So I'm really proud and happy for those two as well. All our doubles players just did a great job."
In singles, Havre ran into its only snags of the tournament. Sophomore Jerod Boles lost a heartbreaker in the first round, while senior Zach Hellegaard lost in the quarterfinals. That meant the teammates had to face each other in a loser-out match on Friday morning. Boles prevailed in a close match, but he eventually fell one win short of reaching the state tournament. Junior Jamie Lieberg, playing in his first divisional tournament, went 0-2.
"Our plan was to get Zach and Jerod to state," Ferguson said. "It didn't work out, and they were both crushed. It was really the hardest moment of the tournament, those two having to play each other. As a coach, you wish it would never happen. But they both handled it with class and dignity and they did it the right way. They competed hard against each other, and after it was over, they were teammates again. I'm so proud of Zach Hellegaard. He has been one of the hardest-working players I've ever coached, and that is not the way he or I envisioned his last divisional tournament coming to an end. And it broke my heart that it happened the way it happened. But Zach is a tennis player, and he a good one at that. So he understands how it goes sometimes in this crazy sport, and he was Jerod's biggest supporter after their match. So I just couldn't be more proud of Zach.
"As for the way the singles shook out for us, it wasn't how we thought it would go," he continued. "But again, that's tennis and that's the divisional tournament, and even more so, it's singles. It's a really tough game, and the best players don't always prevail. But I'm really proud of Zach, Jerod and Jamie Lieberg because they fought to the bitter end in every match. Jerod was a warrior the whole way through, and I still believe he and Zach were two of the best players in that tournament, regardless of the results. There was no quit in any of them, even though things weren't quite going their way. They made me, and Havre High very proud this weekend."
And at the end of the day, the Blue Pony boys did themselves proud. The 10 Havre boys who went to Bozeman continued the Pony Central A dynasty that's now well into its second decade, and now Miller, Smith, Malone, Landgraf and Lindbloom will move on to the Class A state tournament Thursday-Friday in Billings.
"It was a great weekend for our boys," Ferguson said. "Really, this was a relatively young, and new-look boys team. But not now. They played like, and are, a veteran, outstanding tennis team, and they really dominated the divisional tournament. We had Blue Pony Blue playing everywhere all day on Friday, and that's the program we strive to be, and these guys carried on that tradition."
Havre 48, Anaconda 30, Lewistown 26, Livingston 20
Championship – Jeff Miller, HAV def. John Potenburg, LIV, 6-3, 6-1; 3rd Place – Carson Boynton, ANA def. Noble Vance, LIV, N/A.
Havre Individual Results
Jeff Miller (1st Place)
1st rd – Bye; 2nd rd – def. Eli Van Meel, ANA, 6-1, 6-1; Semifinals – def. Noble Vance, LIV, 6-1, 6-1; Championship – def. Potenburg, LIV, 6-3, 6-1.
1st rd – def. Parker Phillips, LEW, 6-2, 6-1; 2nd rd – def. by Boynton, ANA, 6-1, 6-2; Consolation 2nd rd – def. by Jerod Boles, HAV, 7-5, 6-4.
1st rd – def. by Carl Wright, LEW, 6-2, 4-6, 4-6; Consolation 1st rd – def. Justin Stoppler, ANA, 6-1, 6-1; Consolation 2nd rd – def. Hellegaard, HAV, 7-5, 6-4; Consolation 3rd rd – def. Wright, LEW, 6-2, 2-6, 6-0; Consolation Semifinals – def. by Vance, LIV, 7-5, 6-2.
1st rd – def. by Van Meel, ANA, 7-5, 6-1; Consolation 2nd rd – def. by Anders Peterson, LEW, 6-4, 6-1.
Championship – Ned Malone/Brian Smith, HAV def. Stanberry/Wagner, ANA, 6-1, 6-0; 3rd Place – Hould/Behl, LEW def. Wyatt Lindbloom/Noah Landgraf, HAV, 6-2, 6-3.
Havre Individual Results
Ned Malone/Brian Smith (1st Place)
1st rd – Bye; 2nd rd – def. Leppala/Schaeffer, ANA, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5); Semifinals – def. Hould/Belh, LEW, 6-3, 6-1; Championship – def. Stanberry/Wagner, ANA, 6-1, 6-0.
Wyatt Lindbloom/Noah Landgraf (4th Place)
1st rd – Bye; 2nd rd – def. Wilcox/McCarthy, LEW, 7-5, 6-4; Semifinals – def. Staneberry/Wagner, ANA, 6-4, 7-5; Consolation Semifinals – Leppala/Schaeffer, ANA, 6-1, 6-4; 2rd Place – def. by Hould/Behl, LEW, 6-2, 6-3.
Jake Sedahl/Nate Korb
1st rd – def. Blodnik/Kincaid, ANA, 6-3, 6-0; 2nd rd – def. by Hould/Behl, LEW, 6-0, 6-1; Consolation 2nd rd – def. Froelich/Swanson, LIV, 6-1, 6-1; Consolation 3rd rd – def. by Seppala/Schaeffer, ANA, 6-1, 6-4.
Pony girls win dramatic Central A title
May 19, 2014
Once upon a time the Havre High girls tennis team was racking up Central A and Class A state trophies at a rapid pace. But the Blue Ponies hadn't carried a trophy home since the Central A Divisional of 2010.
On Saturday morning in Bozeman, that all changed.
Blue Pony junior Tatiana Ralph scored a dramatic and unusual win in the girls singles consolation match of the 2014 Central A Divisional tournament in Bozeman, and that win gave Havre 47 team points, one better than defending champion Livingston.
The thrilling part of Ralph's win over Anaconda's Destiny Strutzel was the fact that after winning the first set 6-2, Ralph dropped the second set in a tiebreaker. Then she fell behind 4-1 in the decisive third set before battling back to even the match at 6-6. Then, in the final tiebreaker, Ralph fell behind 6-1, and had to erase five straight match points. Not only did she do that, but she won two more points to secure the victory for herself, and for her senior-laden Blue Pony team. The unusual part was that Ralph and Strutzel played the only match on Saturday. Strutzel played the limit of four matches on Friday, and while the tournament was finished in every other bracket, the consolation singles match couldn't be played until Saturday morning.
"I've coached 11 years now, and I haven't been involved in a match like that," Ferguson said. "We had nine empty courts, we had all of our boys and girls cheering for Tatiana and the same for Anaconda and Destiny. And for good measure, you had Livingston kids there cheering for Anaconda because if Destiny wins, Livingston wins the team title. And then, you have an epic three-set match where neither girl gave in. So it was pretty intense and dramatic.
"And all the credit in the world to Tatiana," Ferguson continued. "She had the match in hand, then had it slip away, and was really up against the wall in that third-set tiebreaker. But she never quit. She never folded. She kept coming back, she kept fighting. It was very special to watch and I'm so proud of her, not just for the win, but for the way she carried herself and for showing so much heart and determination. That's a match I'm always going to remember."
The Pony girls put a divisional tournament together they'll all remember too. Senior Brandy Lambourne breezed to the singles championship, while seniors Breck Don and Ellery Bresler wound up finishing a close second in girls doubles. That's a good tournament in itself, but along the way, Havre and Livingston seemed to be neck-and-neck throughout the tourney, and that's where Ralph's win, as well as key points from senior Shannon Herring in singles and sophomores Rainey Stoner and Madison Huebsch came into play.
"This divisional championship is so special to all of us," Ferguson said. "The girls, especially the seniors, wanted this one really bad. They were excited and pumped up and intense the entire tournament. They were focused and determined to get this trophy, and they got it done. I'm happy for our seniors, because they followed a great string of girls trophies in our program, and hadn't got one of their own yet. But I'm also so proud of every girl on this team. Because all 10 of them came to Bozeman with one goal, and one mission, and together they accomplished something very special."
Lambourne went untested in four matches over the weekend, and she downed Livingston's Shelly Ouelette 6-1, 6-4 in the final. Bresler and Don lost a heartbreaker to Livingston's top team in the championship match, 7-5, 7-6, but their thrilling three-set win over the No. 2 Livingston team in the semifinals was another huge reason why Havre was able to secure a team title. Meanwhile, the senior duo of Haley Graham and Morgan Jappe also came up big, winning a key first-round match and scoring four points before losing to the Livingston No. 2 in the match that would have qualified the duo for state. Herring gave Havre another two points in singles and came up just one win shy of having a chance to reach the state tournament.
"I am extremely happy for Brandy Lambourne," Ferguson said. "She's had a lot of success over the years, but in singles, our division had been ruled by some really good players the last two. Now, Brandy is that player who rules our division and she played like it this weekend. She was very, very good and she deserves this title. Breck and Ellery won a heroic match in the semifinals, and actually played even better in their loss in the championship match. I know they were disappointed, but their comeback in the semifinals, we wouldn't have won the team title without, and I still think they are going to be one of the teams to beat at the state.
"The same goes for Morgan, Haley and Shannon," Ferguson continued. "We won the team title by one point, so clearly, it wasn't possible without everything those three did this weekend. But at the same time, they had goals of going to state individually too, and it didn't quite happen. And that's why divisional tournaments like this one are so bitter sweet. You're so excited that we won a team title, and as a team you're elated, but at the same time, with those three seniors, it breaks your heart for them that they didn't quite make it to where they were hoping to be. But I couldn't be more proud of those three, and of all our seniors. They have been dedicated to this team, and even though it's an individual sport too, I know how much this trophy means to all of them. They are a special group and I'm so proud and honored to be their coach."
While the seniors played a huge role in the Ponies' first Central A title in four long years, Ralph was the catalyst. She scored a crucial seven points, with her first loss coming in a close match against Ouelette in the semifinals. She bounced right back to win in the consolation semifinals, then beat Strutzel in the epic match. Ralph also beat Strutzel in straight sets in the quarterfinals Thursday. Stoner and Huebsch, playing in their first divisional tournament together, added a win in the consolation bracket, while sophomore Alara Vogel went 0-2, but played well according to Ferguson.
"Again, this was a total team win," Ferguson said. "And our sophomore class was every bit a part of it as Tati and the seniors were. That's what made this weekend so fun and special. These 10 girls went to Bozeman on a mission. They were bonded, they supported each other and pushed each other, and they stuck together, and the result was a really exciting and special championship. This is a great moment for our girls program, but more so, for this 2014 girl's team. I'm just so happy for all 10 of them, and even more proud of every one of them."
Lambourne, Ralph, Bresler and Don will now prep for a trip to the 2014 Class A state tennis tournament, which runs Thursday-Friday in Billings.
Havre 46, Livingston 45
Championship – Brandy Lambourne, HAV def. Shelly Oulette, LIV, 6-1, 6-4; 3rd Place – Tatiana Ralph, HAV def. Destiny Strutzel, ANA, 6-2, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (8-6).
Havre Individual Results
Brandy Lambourne (1st Place)
1st rd – def. Abby Gatz, LEW, 6-0, 6-0; 2nd rd – def. Olivia HintZ, liv, 6-1, 3-0 (INJ DEF.); Semifinals – def. Beth Olson, LEW, 6-2, 6-2; Championship – def. Oulette, LIV, 6-1, 6-4.
Tatiana Ralph (3rd Place)
1st rd – def. Tayler Totland, LIV, 6-2, 6-2; 2nd rd – Destiny Strutzel, ANA, 6-4, 6-1; Semifinals – def. by Ouelette, LIV, ; Consolation Semifinals – def. Hintz, LIV, 6-4, 6-1; 3rd Place – def. Strutzel, ANA, 6-2, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (8-6).
1st rd – def. by Strutzel, ANA, 6-4, 6-4; Consolation 1str rd – def. Totland, LIV, 6-4, 6-0; Consolation 2nd rd – def. Ameilia Wood, ANA, 6-0, 6-0; Consolation 3rd rd – def. by Strutzel, ANA, 7-5, 7-5.
1st rd – def. by Olson, LEW, 6-4, 1-6, 6-1; Consolation 1st rd – def. by Emmy Keenan, ANA, 6-1, 6-0.
Championship – Kelley/Coleman, LIV def. Breck Don/Ellery Bresler, HAV, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3); 3rd Place – Johnson/Salle, ANA def. Lane/Lane, LIV, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
Havre Individual Results
Ellery Bresler/Breck Don (2nd Place)
1st rd – Bye; 2nd rd – def. Phipps/Printz, LIV, 6-1, 6-1; Semifinals – def. Lane/Lane, LIV, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5; Championship – def. by Kelley/Coleman, LIV, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3).
Haley Graham/Morgan Jappe
1st rd – def. Mhyre/Godbey, LEW, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4); 2nd rd – def. by Johnson/Salle, ANA, 6-3, 6-1; Consolation 2nd rd – def. Hammer/Neilson, ANA, 6-0, 6-1; Consolation 3rd rd – def. Mhyre/Godbey, LEW, 6-0, 6-2; Consolation Semifinals – def. by Lane/Lane, LIV, 6-2, 6-2.
Rainey Stoner/Madison Huebsch
1st rd – def. by Phipps/Printz, LIV, 6-1, 6-1; 2nd rd Consolation – def. Davis/Grosvold, ANA, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5; Consolation 3rd rd – def. by Phipps/Printz, LIV, 6-1, 6-0.