After losing in a Division I district quarterfinal the past two years, senior Tyler Cempre of the Thomas Worthington High School boys tennis team final has made it to state.

After losing in a Division I district quarterfinal the past two years, senior Tyler Cempre of the Thomas Worthington High School boys tennis team final has made it to state.

At district last Saturday at Hilliard Davidson, Cempre lost to Olentangy Liberty's Arren Carter 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 in a semifinal and defeated Upper Arlington's Sean Carr 7-5, 6-2 in the consolation to place third. The top four in singles and doubles advanced to state Friday and Saturday at Ohio State.

"From the beginning of the season until now, he has built to the point where he was playing his very best tennis (last Friday and Saturday)," coach Bobbie Davis said. "He became a quiet, focused player at the end of the year and that's what he had to do."

Cempre is the first Cardinal to make it to state tournament since Trenton Hayward lost in the first round in 2003. He will open against Alex Hager of Wapakoneta.

Kilbourne had a pair of qualifiers as Jonny Price and Nick Kowalczyk were fourth at district in doubles after losing to New Albany's Skyler Engel and Riyad Bennoui 7-5, 6-3 in a semifinal and UA's Will Thieman and Billy Weldon 6-1, 6-4 in the consolation.

Price and Kowalczyk will open state against Robert Salcedo and Scott Warden of Hudson.

In the first two rounds last Friday, Cempre beat Kilbourne's Chris Yoon 6-2, 6-2 and New Albany's John Buell 6-2, 6-3.

Cempre is 18-3, with his only regular-season losses being to Carter and Watterson's Phil Diaz.

"My focus has really changed this year," he said. "Losing to Diaz at the end of the year was a big eye-opener for me. It showed me I had to work harder to be ready to play at the state tournament."

Also for Thomas, Casey Cempre lost to Carter 6-1, 6-2 in a quarterfinal and Nick Wortman and David Edison lost to Engel and Bennoui 6-0, 6-0 in the first round.

Price and graduate David Yoon lost to Pickerington Central's Gian Sposito and Nischal Raya 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 in a quarterfinal last year. When he and Kowalczyk beat UA's Phil Zunshine and James Melvin 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 in a quarterfinal last Friday, they seemed to be following that same pattern.

"After we lost that second set, I thought about (last year) for a little bit, but it disappeared," Price said. "I remembered doing the same thing last year -- winning the first set and then losing the second. I'm just glad we pulled out that third set. They kept coming back and they had us at match point twice but, we held on."

They had a 4-1 lead but squandered it. The Golden Bears went up 5-4 and had match point twice but couldn't convert.

"I need to come into the net a little bit more," said Kowalczyk, who lost in the first round last season at the state singles tournament. "We relied too much on our groundstrokes today. At state that won't do it. We have to come into the net."

"I don't think they played the net as much as they should," coach Steve Metzmaier said. "They go into the net in their weaker matches, but when they get up against (stronger teams) they start to stay back a little bit. I think they can volley with anybody. They just have to get in there and do it."

Kilbourne's other district qualifier, Kevin Metka, lost to Carr 6-1, 7-6 in a quarterfinal.