Since 1990, central Ohio boys tennis teams have won seven Division I state doubles titles. In that same time frame, the area has produced only one state singles champion, New Albany's Peter Kobelt last season.

Since 1990, central Ohio boys tennis teams have won seven Division I state doubles titles. In that same time frame, the area has produced only one state singles champion, New Albany's Peter Kobelt last season.

Worthington Kilbourne High School senior Kevin Metka and Thomas Worthington junior Casey Cempre will be trying to add to that number when they compete at the state singles tournament Friday at Ohio State's Stickney Center.

Metka will play Uniontown Lake freshman Ross Whittaker, and Cempre will face Perryburg freshman Jeffrey Schorsch.

Metka defeated Olentangy Liberty's Arren Carter 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 to win the Central District singles title. Cempre defeated Dublin Coffman's Hiromi Nakayama 6-3, 6-4 for third place last Saturday at the Elysium Tennis Club.

"I think central Ohio has a chance in going pretty far in singles," said Metka, who won a state doubles title last year with graduate Jonny Price. "There are a lot better Columbus kids than there have been in the past."

This year marks only the second time since 2000 that Kilbourne and Thomas both had representatives at the state tournament. Junior Harrison Chang, the Cardinals' other district representative, lost to Nakayama 6-0, 6-0 in the first round.

Metka, who continued a four-year string of state qualifiers for the Wolves, never gave up a set en route to the district title. He enters the state tournament with a 22-3 record with two of those losses coming against Carter.

"I served really well, and I didn't make a lot of errors," Metka said. "My strategy this year has been to go for a little bit more because that's what I am going to need in college."

Cempre is the Cardinals' second state qualifier since 2008. His brother, Tyler, who lost to Shaker Heights' Tommy Marx 6-3, 3-6, 3-0 (retired) in a state quarterfinal in 2008, was the last to make it.

Thomas coach Tyler Stephen said it was difficult to watch his 5-7, 6-0, 6-2 win over Upper Arlington's Beni Benalcazar in a quarterfinal last Friday.

Cempre lost to Benalcazar at the Worthington Cup on April 24 and defeated him 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 in a first-singles semifinal at the OCC-Central Division tournament on May 8.

"After he lost that first set, he was like 'Where do I go from here?'" Stephen said. "I told him, 'You have to understand, you played better tennis than he did in that set. Keep going and you're going to be fine.'"

In his first trip to the district tournament, Chang never got on track against Nakayama. He tried to put the Coffman sophomore on the run but that backfired.

"Most people when you make them run, they miss more shots," Chang said. "I think he's actually better when you make him run for some reason. I wasn't playing my best, but he was just way too good."