LA GRANDE TENNIS TEAM SENDS BIGGEST EVER CONTINGENT TO STATE
The La Grande tennis team will send its largest contingent in recent years to the 3A Oregon State Tournament May 23.
Aaron Nebeker, Stephanie Keith and three boys doubles' teams qualified for state at district play Friday at the indoor Tri-Cities Court Club.
"These are the most kids I've ever taken to state," said coach Mike Schireman. "That's pretty exciting."
The first day of competition at the district tournament was Friday. Those qualifying for the second day of the tournament today have automatically advanced to the state tournament. The remaining competitors are playing for seeding today.
Keith defeated teammate Megan Sherer 6-2, 6-4 to qualify for state. She earlier defeated Hannah Close of Riverside 6-0, 6-0. She is the only girl to make it to state.
Sherer otherwise had a good day, defeating Jamie Moore of Riverside 8-0 and Meghan McCabe of Ione 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).
On the boys' side, Nebeker, a district No. 1 seed, defeated Teren Humphrey of Condon and Willie Reeves of Sherman County in straight sets to advance to the second day of district and a state tournament berth.
Among the doubles' players, John Woodfield and Levi Morrison easily won two matches in straight sets to qualify for state. Seth Pennington and Matt Nightingale won two matches in straight sets and in a slight surprise, the team's No. 3 duo, Dan Jones and Sean Gregory won two matches to also qualify for state.
Schireman said Gregory and Jones deserved to go to state.
"I was really glad for them. They're a couple of seniors who've been with the program for four years. They're two really nice guys," said Schireman.
Dan Thurber also won a couple of matches, but he wasn't able to qualify for state. He and La Grande's Brendan Marshall were eliminated by John Magana of Echo.
Schireman's one disappointment is that the girls doubles' team of Hilary Girrard and Haily Hines didn't qualify for state.
He said Girrard and Hines came into the district tournament having defeated the No. 1 and No. 4 seeds at the tourney, but they lost their first match to a Umatilla duo, Caitlin Lee and Donna Borden, 2-6, 4-6.
"They came out a bit flat. That's kind of the nature of tennis. It just didn't happen today," said Schireman.
3A district tennis tournament
Tri-Cities Court Club, May 17
Bethany Herman, La Grande, def. Becki McMamee, Riverside, 8-3; Kendra Winn, Weston-McEwen, def. Herman 6-4, 6-1.
Megan Sherer, La Grande, def. Jamie Moore, Riverside 8-0; Sherer, La Grande, def. Megan McCabe, Ione 6-4, 7-6 (7-4); Stephanie Keith, La Grande def. Sherer, La Grande 6-2, 6-4.
Keith, La Grande def. Hannah Close, Riverside 6-0, 6-0; Keith, La Grande def. Sherer, La Grande 6-2, 6-4.
Johns-Johnson, Weston-McEwen def. Sarah Noyes-Teresa Kiemnec, La Grande, 6-4, 6-2.
Alley-Hill, Sherman County def. Nikki Nielsen-Jennifer Hubbard, La Grande 8-4.
Lee-Borden, Umatilla def. Haily Hines, Hilary Girrard, La Grande 6-2, 6-4.
Aaron Nebeker, La Grande def. Teren Humphrey, Condon 6-0, 6-1. Nebeker, La Grande def. Willie Reeves, Sherman Co., 6-2, 6-0.
Dan Thurber, La Grande def. Ray Taylor, Riverside 8-0; Thurber def. Pedro Manriquez, Umatilla 6-1, 6-0; John Magana, Echo def. Thurber 6-0, 6-1.
Brendan Marshall, La Grande def. Mark Kinney, Mac-Hi 8-1; Magana, Echo def. Marshall 6-1, 6-1.
John Woodfield-Levi Morrison, La Grande, def. Neiser-Collins, Ione 6-0, 6-0; Woodfield-Morrison def. Paine-Torres, Mac-Hi 6-0, 6-1.
Seth Pennington-Matt Nightingale, La Grande def. Bauman-Griggs, Weston-McEwen, 6-0, 6-1; Pennington-Nightingale, La Grande def. Burns-Todd, Ione 6-2, 6-1.
Dan Jones-Sean Gregory, La Grande def. Goad-Ims, Riverside 6-3, 7-5; Jones-Gregory, La Grande def. Hindon-Palamino, Umatilla 6-2, 7-5.