LA GRANDE TENNIS OPENS SEASON TODAY
The key to any good relationship, it's been said, is good communication.
Kathryn Ely and Jennifer Hubbard, the No. 1 doubles team for La Grande High School, have that kind of relationship.
"The reason I like to play is mostly because of my partner," Ely said. "She makes it fun."
Hubbard, standing a few feet away, demurred half-heartedly.
"Oh stop," Hubbard said, smiling. "She's just saying that."
From what Tiger head coach Mike Schireman is saying, the duo looks even better this season after qualifying for state in 2004.
"I've had a feel so far that they are so much further ahead now at this point than they were last year," Schireman said. "Kathryn really looks stronger. They'll be one of the top teams in our district."
Hubbard likes the tandem's chances of placing at state.
"State, that's our goal," Hubbard said. "We're comfortable enough with each other and competitive enough to be good and on the other hand if we mess up we don't blame each other."
Filling the No. 1 singles spot for the lady Tigers will be senior Teresa Kiemnic.
La Grande, last year's district champion in boys and girls, will have a young team this year after losing several key players from the 2004 squad.
"This might be a rebuilding year," Schireman said.
One player who won't be rebuilding is La Grande boys standout Brendan Marshall, the Tigers No. 1 singles player.
Marshall, a senior, won a district championship last season and qualified for state.
"Brendan has a great work ethic," Schireman said. "He hates to lose and in match situations he's just plain tough. I've seen him before where he's down a couple of games in tournaments and come back to win. He's just a solid player."
Schireman thinks Marshall will benefit from a change in his swing that came this offseason.
"He worked with our assistant coach, Tim Hoffnagle, and Brendan is getting his racket away from his body a little more," Schireman said. "I think it'll really help him."
Keaton Orton and Selman Jones will be the Tigers no. 1 doubles team.
La Grande opens their tennis season today by traveling to Pendleton. Matches start at 3 p.m.