As exciting as it was for Hilliard Davidson High School seniors Trent Searfoss and Ben McClarren to qualify for the Division I state tennis tournament in doubles, they know if they stop working on their game, their visit could be short-lived.

As exciting as it was for Hilliard Davidson High School seniors Trent Searfoss and Ben McClarren to qualify for the Division I state tennis tournament in doubles, they know if they stop working on their game, their visit could be short-lived.

"It's really exciting, but I'm going to work my butt off this week to make sure we don't go in there and get spanked," McClarren said.

"We're not done here," Searfoss said. "We want it all."

Searfoss and McClarren face an uphill climb at the state tournament Friday and Saturday at Ohio State's Stickney Center, after placing fourth in the district tournament last Saturday at Davidson. The duo lost to New Albany's Riyad Bennoui and John Hendrix 6-1, 6-2 in a semifinal and to Dublin Jerome's Sean Stein and Kent Seitz 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the third-place match.

Searfoss and McClarren face Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit juniors Garrett Cona and Matt Spittler, the Northeast district champions, in the first round Friday.

The district has been strong in Division I doubles the past two years. Last season, Kevin Metka and Jonny Price of Worthington Kilbourne defeated Watterson's Philip Diaz and Chris Diaz 6-4, 6-4 for the state championship and Upper Arlington's Billy Weldon and James Melvin finished fourth. The Diaz brothers won the 2008 state title.

"From top to bottom, every team in here is tough," Davidson coach Shawn Walton said. "I told them as long as you do the right things out there, you can beat anyone."

"I definitely feel like we're carrying on that torch," Searfoss said. "We hope to represent central Ohio well in the tournament."

McClarren and Searfoss won the "A" flight of the Hilliard Doubles Classic on April 17 and placed second in the Worthington Cup on April 24. But once the duo won the Davidson sectional tournament that concluded May 15, McClarren saw the team's potential to make it to state.

However, even coming in as a sectional champion didn't guarantee the duo a good district draw. They defeated Olentangy Liberty's Alex Hathaway and Mitchell Lothes - a state qualifier last year in doubles with graduate Alex Solove - 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 in the first round and UA's Eric Vannatta and Nate Wallace 6-2, 6-4 in the second round to advance to state.

"The last two years, I've lost to a doubles team from Upper Arlington in the qualifying round," McClarren said. "I had to fight to overcome that, but it was really nice to beat a UA team to qualify."

•In a 6-1, 6-0 loss to New Albany's Oliver Sybert last Friday in the first round of the district tournament at Elysium Tennis Club, Darby senior Ryan Pelfrey had a difficult time coming up with a strategy his opponent hadn't already seen.

"I've known (Sybert) a long time and we've figured each other out," Pelfrey said. "He has a big forehand and a big net game. I just couldn't use my forehand enough (last Friday)."

Pelfrey's trip to district - the first in program history - may have lasted less than two hours, but coach Scott Nickel believes it will have an impact on the Panthers in the coming years.

"He helped set the tone for the younger players," Nickel said. "He really peaked at the right time with his play."

The Panthers lose five seniors, including Pelfrey and Shannon Cochran. Among those expected to return are sophomores Bryson Hook, Andy Kim and Jason Pelfrey and freshmen Kyle Chilcote and Harsha Ponna.

Darby finished 3-8 overall and 2-5 in the OCC-Central Division. The Panthers placed sixth in the league with 37 points, behind UA (73 points, 7-0), Dublin Coffman (54, 6-1), Thomas Worthington (49, 5-2), Kilbourne (46, 4-3) and Davidson (40, 3-4) and ahead of Westland (15, 1-6) and Central Crossing (8, 0-7).

In the league tournament May 8, Ryan Pelfrey and Chilcote placed fourth at first doubles after losing to Thomas' Mark Evans and Joey Wortman 7-5, 6-4 in the third-place match. Jason Pelfrey and Kim were fifth at second doubles.

Cochran placed eighth at first singles, Ponna was sixth at second singles and Hook was seventh at third singles.

"Next year, we're looking to continue where we left off and take our program to new heights," Nickel said.

At a glance

DARBY

•Record: 3-8 overall, 2-5 (sixth) in OCC-Central •Seniors lost: Shannon Cochran, Tyler Dubiak, Ryan Pelfrey, Andrew Phillips and Gautham Vemulapalli •Key returnees: Kyle Chilcote, Bryson Hook, Andy Kim, Jason Pelfrey and Harsha Ponna