After teaming with 2007 graduate Ryan Rauck to represent the Bexley High School boys tennis team in the Division II state tournament a season ago, junior Preston Phillips needed a new doubles partner this season.

After teaming with 2007 graduate Ryan Rauck to represent the Bexley High School boys tennis team in the Division II state tournament a season ago, junior Preston Phillips needed a new doubles partner this season.

Phillips played singles throughout the regular season, then joined senior David Edelstein to form the program's No. 1 doubles team, and everything has fallen into place. They took third in the district tournament last Friday and Saturday at Columbus Academy and will compete Friday and Saturday in the state tournament at Ohio State.

"This is great anytime you can get somebody to state," coach G.J. Seckel said. "We thought we should get somebody to state. Throughout the season we've been one of the better teams. We knew they still had to play their matches, but we expected them to get there."

Phillips and Edelstein lost to eventual champions Pavan Reddy and Eoghan Bahnsen of Academy 7-5, 6-4 in a semifinals.

"I've played Pavan many, many times in high school so I know how he's playing, and Bahnsen played very well," Phillips said. "That was the first time we played them this season. They played well as expected."

Phillips and Edelstein bounced back to beat Minford's Tommy Hempill and Levi Lester 6-2, 6-3 in the consolation round. They will open state against Hunting Valley University School's Steven Shin and Seth Udelson. Shin and Udelson were second in the Canton district.

"I'm hoping for just a first-round win," Phillips said. "That would be great because I know how hard wins are at state. You have to get lucky with the draw and just play your best. Hopefully David and I will both be ready and just be playing well because we're getting better with every match. Hopefully we'll be at our peak come Friday."

"We both have to serve well, and our volleys and net game have to be on," said Edelstein, who is making his first trip to state. "I think it will be."

The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Edelstein also plays football, basketball and golf.

"It's tough for me to pick a favorite sport," Edelstein said. "Whatever one I'm in, that's usually the one I like most. I have a lot of mental toughness because of football and basketball."

Brian Seckel and Elliot Fowler opened by beating Big Walnut's Munsell Randall and Jamey Baisden 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, then lost to Hempill and Lester 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (8-6) in a quarterfinal.

"We got the one team through and we almost got the other one through," coach Seckel said.

In singles, Sam Brock lost to Academy's Andrew Enslen 6-0, 6-2 and Josh Katz lost to Academy's Will Petrie 6-0, 6-1. Both Vikings went on to advance to the state tournament, joining the school's two doubles teams.

"Academy is the best team around here by far," coach Seckel said. "They're No. 1 in the state right now. We've had to play them twice in dual matches and we've had to play them in the league tournament and then district, so we've played them so much in the last two weeks. It just wears on you after awhile."