Ronan softball punches ticket to divisionals

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  • POLSON No. 1 singles player Colin Kenney delivers an offering in an earlier match this season at the Polson Tennis Courts behind Linderman Elementary School. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

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    POLSON NO. 1 tennis player Cassie Carlyle gets ready for divisionals Tuesday and Wednesday at Ronan High School. Carlyle, and the rest of the Lady Pirates, hope to get past Whitefish in order to win their 11th consecutive divisional crown. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

  • POLSON No. 1 singles player Colin Kenney delivers an offering in an earlier match this season at the Polson Tennis Courts behind Linderman Elementary School. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

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    POLSON NO. 1 tennis player Cassie Carlyle gets ready for divisionals Tuesday and Wednesday at Ronan High School. Carlyle, and the rest of the Lady Pirates, hope to get past Whitefish in order to win their 11th consecutive divisional crown. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

Polson tennis coach Bob Hislop has transitioned his mindset into getting his kids prepared for the the Class-A Divisionals that will be held Tuesday and Wednesday.

Hislop said he felt his boys and girls team are “primed” to compete in the Divisionals and possibly even win it.

“We have the No. 1 seed headed into Divisionals and that has to be a good sign,” Hislop declared.

As Polson prepares to enter Divisionals, their big concern will be matching up against Whitefish Hislop said.

“I don’t think we are as deep as Whitefish but if we have a couple of kids perform at the top of our lineup, we will be in decent shape,” Hislop said.

In order to prepare for the increased level of competition, Hislop has several members of his team putting in overtime in practice. Hislop has brought in adult players to compete against his boys team and is pitting varsity boys players against some of his top-ranked girls.

“We are ramped up and some of the kids are playing against the adults,” Hislop said. “They have been competitive and good against us. We have a state-level boys, girls team and that helps the quality of our practices.”

According to Hislop, his boys team matches up well against Whitefish.

“I think our boys have beaten them twice, and we have won singles and won doubles both times,” Hislop said. “At the top, we are pretty even. They are deep but we are better in lone spots than their boys.”

The girls will match up differently against Whitefish, Hislop said.

“The girls are just the opposite and they’ve beaten us both times in duals 5-2,” Hislop said. “The battle with the girls is an unusual portion of the match up because our No. 1 doubles and No. 1 singles have beaten them so it will be an interesting Divisional. We might win singles and still lose the tournament.”

Hislop said he is “optimistic” this season will churn out better results.

“Last year, we won Divisionals by a lot and those girls did a nice job at state,” Hislop said. “One of them placed fifth. Whitefish won the state. You can get first or second place and still lose Divisionals. If we lose Divisionals this year, that would be the first time in 11 years and it would be incredible if we can put ourselves in position to win the state.”

Hislop said the vast majority of how State and Divisionals turn out has to do just as much with luck as it does skill.

“Right now, we are doing extra motivational quotes and having them read this or that to try to get what we want out of the kids,” Hislop said. “We will have to see if we are able to come through. I am assuming they will come through and work hard. We have good athletes and you have to have some luck. Sometimes, when you win a state championship, luck is a huge portion of it.”

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