May 08, 2002 11:00 pm

By Pat Perkins

Observer Staff Writer

La Grande High School has one of its best boys tennis teams in years going into Friday's and Saturday's district tournament here, but its success may depend on tonight's seeding meeting.

"This is probably the best record I've had for a boys team going into a district tournament," La Grande coach Mike Schireman said, "but a lot of it has to do with the luck of the draw, who knocks who off. It's really tough to say in tennis."

La Grande hosts its first district tennis tournament since Schireman has been coach, with boys matches starting at 8:30 a.m. Friday at the high school and college and running til dusk.

Consolation matches may be played at the La Grande Country Club in Island City because there aren't enough courts for all the championship round matches in doubles and singles.

The girls play their district tournament in Baker City, and all boys and girls finals will be Saturday in Baker City.

The seeding meeting tonight will determine who plays whom. A good draw could boost La Grande's chances.

"I would say that our boys have a good shot at winning it," Schireman said.

The No. 1 doubles team of Greg Schuft and Tyler Lester should get a top seed after going through district competition undefeated.

No. 1 singles player Levi Morrison and No. 2 John Woodfield may also get seeds.

La Grande's girls doubles teams, Hilary Girrard and Stephanie Keith, Shalece Hibbert and Karli Nebeker, may be seeded lower but have played competitive tennis against the best in the district, which includes Madras, Baker, Ontario, Burns, Mitchell, Nyssa, Sunriver Prep and Vale.

"Those are teams I wouldn't want to see in the first round because they're dangerous," Schireman said, "and that's kind of the same story with our boys team, too."

The top four singles and doubles players will qualify for the state meet, scheduled for May 17-18 in Corvallis.