The Class B Tennis Tournament will take place in Great Falls this Thursday through Saturday, and according to longtime Townsend coach John O'Dell the girls tourney is wide open.
The Lady Bulldogs are last year's State B champions. At last week's Southeast B tourney, Broadwater captured its 13th successive division title, edging runner-up Jefferson 48-43.
Townsend produced two second-place finishers in singles Jess Barnett, and the doubles Leia Schritz and Taylor Noyes. Teammate Charlie Smith finished fourth.
Jefferson also had four qualifiers, led by Renee Yu, who garnered the Lady Panthers first divisional singles title in several years. Also qualifying for JHS coach Erika Morris were third-placers Leah Vossler in singles, and in doubles, Kylie Marks and Lauryn Armstrong.
"Fairfield qualified three singles and a doubles, they're talented and have four scoring opportunities," said O'Dell, when asked to list the state favorites. "They also play a great schedule and are battle tested.
"Forsyth is seeing a resurgence in tennis and won the division for the first time in school history. They qualified two singles and two doubles. And Loyola will have three singles and two doubles ... they have five scoring opportunities and are capable of placing in both brackets. In my opinion the Lady Rams are the team to beat."
He also mentioned Bigfork, Darby and Chinook, among the contenders.
"Townsend and Jefferson both have two comparable singles players and a doubles team," said O'Dell, referring to the Elkhorn area rivals schools. "If either team gets hot, they may find themselves in the mix."
Mundel, Brady honored
WHITEFISH – Samantha Mundel was named the Frontier Conference female track athlete of the week and Keaton Brady was named the outdoor field athlete of the week after strong performances at the Providence Frontier Conference Open.
Brady hit a personal record in the pole vault to earn the NAIA A qualifying standard. He earned a return trip to the NAIA National Championship where, a year ago, he earned all-American honors.
He is tied for third-best in the NAIA to date with a vault of 16 feet, 0.75 inches.
Mundel ran the 1,500 with a time of 4:37.10 to improve her NAIA qualifying mark. She is currently ranked third in the NAIA.
She also anchored the Carroll 4x800-meter relay team to an NAIA qualifying time of 9:24.71. The team is currently ranked 13th in the NAIA.
The Helena High softball team's playoff games on Thursday at home have a new start time. The Bengals will play Missoula Big Sky in a one-day best-of-3 series beginning at noon.
The winner of the series advances to the Class AA State Tournament next week. The State Tournament will be held in Helena this year.