GREAT FALLS -- The first day of the State B-C tennis tournament was a big one for the defending state champion Loyola Sacred Heart boys.
The Rams went 6-0 in singles matches and 3-1 in doubles competition. Leading the way was defending state champion Kalen Christiaens, who dropped just one game in two singles wins.
Next up for Christiaens is a Friday quarterfinal against Ben Haggerty of Troy. He rallied for a three-set win over Brandon Vanderbush of Conrad, 6-7, 6-1, 6-0.
Loyola's Ian Descamps and Carson Christian also reached the singles quarterfinals. Descamps, who earned a berth in the semifinal round last season, will square off against Kyle Thomson of Bigfork Friday. Christian will face Dominic Chiaverini of Troy.
Other area singles players reaching the quarterfinals were Fisher Shima of Ronan and Andrew Esslinger of St. Ignatius.
In doubles action, Loyola's Stephen Sellman and Matt Roberts reached the semifinal round with a pair of wins. They beat Ethan Blevins and Caleb Koble of Ronan in the quarterfinals, 6-1, 6-1.
Rounding out the semifinals are the Bigfork teams of George Gibson/Ben Russel and Isaac Martel/Adam Jordt and the Valley Christian team of Phillip Manuel/Devin Brewer.
Loyola holds a slim lead in the boys' team race. The Rams have 25 points and Bigfork 24. Troy is in third with 21 points.
Thursday was a rough day for area girls' players in the State B-C meet. No one managed to stay alive on the winners' side in singles or doubles.
Defending singles champion Mariah Swank of Chinook was impressive in her two wins. She did not surrender a single game and the Sugarbeeters are on pace to repeat as state champs.
Action in the State B-C meet continues Friday and Saturday in Great Falls.