When: Friday and Saturday starting at 9 a.m.
Last year: Havre edged Miles City for the title. Southern A Hamilton and Western A Bigfork tied for third. Havre senior Kellen Malone captured the singles' crown, and the Bigfork doubles team of Paul Sullivan and Dan Day won the doubles' championship.
This year: Whitefish, which finished seventh in 2000, went undefeated in the West and is a favorite heading into the tourney. The Bulldogs dominated the Western divisional in Libby last weekend. Whitefish qualified four singles players for state and took home the doubles crown. Whitefish's Thiago Mariano is one of the best singles players in the state, and teammates Doug Shyrock and Ben Ruffato form a strong doubles team. Shyrock was the Bulldogs' No. 1 singles player in 2000. … Hamilton won the singles, doubles and team titles at the Southern Divisional. Todd Kenley, the Broncs' No. 1 singles player, lost to Mariano in straight sets during the regular season. The Broncs were undefeated before falling to the Bulldogs. … Glendive and Miles City should compete from the east.
Quotable: "I'm hoping I have the best singles player and doubles team (in the state)," said Whitefish coach Bill Snyder. "I'm depending on them to get most of our points."
Last year: Livingston dismantled the competition, more than doubling the score of second-place Havre. Stevensville finished third. Havre's Teri Sherrill won the singles' championship, and Livingston's Angela Bausch and Christine Bausch took home the doubles' title.
This year: It's between Livingston and Hamilton. The Broncs ran away with the Southern division crown. Hamilton's Crystal and Jessica Richter finished 1-2 at the divisional and are two of the best singles players in the state. Big sister Crystal, a junior, won the state championship in 1999, but faltered in 2000 and lost in the semis. Jessica, a freshman, went undefeated as the Broncs' No. 2 player this year. Hamilton will rely on the strength of their singles play, and Livingston will look to its doubles teams for points. Columbia Falls and Ronan each qualified a singles player and a doubles team.
Quotable: "I think it's going to come down to the wire between Hamilton and Livingston, but there's quite a few teams that could slip in there for third," said Whitefish coach Pat Dryden.
- J.J. Benzak, Missoulian