SCHUFT, LESTER RUNNERS-UP IN DOUBLES

May 19, 2002 11:00 pm

CORVALLIS — La Grande did not win any titles at the OSAA-U.S. Bank Class 3A/2A/1A Tennis State Championships Saturday, but it made history.

Second-seeded Greg Schuft and Tyler Lester were runners-up in the doubles final.

"First team to get into state finals," coach Mike Schireman said. "Definitely exciting for me."

Schireman said no other La Grande boys or girls singles or doubles team has ever advanced that far.

"That's a quite an accomplishment for those guys when you think about the people you're playing against on that side of the state," Schireman said.

"A lot of them take private lessons and play all year. Here it's just a spring sport and some kids do it in the spring. To be able to compete at that level says a lot about their athletic ability, their determination."

Schuft and Lester were pitted against top-seeded Jeremy Babener and Shane Kapral of Catlin Gabel, which won 6-2, 6-1. They advanced to the final after knocking off Josh Christensen and Nick Bablj of Ontario 7-6 (2), 6-3 in the semifinal.

Haley Hines was runner-up in the singles consolation final. Ruth Lopez of Brighton Academy defeated Hines 6-0, 6-0.

"I thought she played extremely well (through the two days of the state tournament)," Schireman said noting this was her first time here.

Hines beat Mollie Rankin of Madras 8-4 in the consolation semifinal. Rankin had beat her earlier in the season.

"She had a good win there," Schireman said.

Catlin Gabel swept both boys and girls titles.

— From Observer staff reports