After his first trip to the Division I state tournament ended with him having to retire in the first round because of an allergic reaction to medication he was taking, senior Jonny Price of the Worthington Kilbourne High School boys tennis team is glad he got a second chance.

After his first trip to the Division I state tournament ended with him having to retire in the first round because of an allergic reaction to medication he was taking, senior Jonny Price of the Worthington Kilbourne High School boys tennis team is glad he got a second chance.

Price and sophomore Kevin Metka placed second in the district tournament last Friday and Saturday at Hilliard Davidson as the top four in singles and doubles advanced to state Friday and Saturday at Ohio State. They beat Olentangy Liberty's Alex Solove and Mitchell Solove 6-1, 6-1 in a semifinal and lost to defending state champions Chris Diaz and Philip Diaz of Watterson 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (11-9) in the final.

"He wants to prove it wasn't a fluke he got to state," coach Steve Metzmaier said. "Maybe they can go a little bit further. Or a lot further."

"I could see us playing the Diaz brothers again in the state final," Price said. "That's our goal."

Chris Yoon lost to Upper Arlington's Will Thieman 7-6, 6-4 in the first round last Friday. Thomas Worthington's Casey Cempre lost in the qualifying for the second consecutive season, defeating DeSales' John Acomb 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the first round and losing to Dublin Coffman's Hiromi Nakayama 6-4, 6-4 in the second.

Last year, Price and graduate Nick Kowalczyk were trailing eventual third-place finishers Scott Warden and Robert Salcedo of Boardman 6-3, 3-0 when Price had to stop.

"I felt bad for Jonny because he was sick and I felt bad for Nick because they felt like they could do something in the state tournament and it was taken from him," Metzmaier said.

"Last year was very disappointing," Price said. "If I would've been healthy, we would've had a chance to do something."

Metka lost to Sean Carr of UA 6-1, 7-6 in the qualifying round at district last year.

"It's really nice to finally make it to state," Metka said. "We haven't really talked about the state too much yet. We just wanted to get through the matches. Now we were going to have to set new goals."

•Winning three-set matches hasn't been a problem for Cempre this season. Playing after one at the district tournament, however, proved to be a tough challenge.

After outlasting Acomb in the first round, Cempre, the champion of the sectional at Davidson one week earlier, didn't have anything left.

"I just had a three-setter before so I was kind of tired," said Cempre, who was 4-1 in three-set matches. "Hiromi came in more ready to play than I was."

"We had our chances to win the second set but he had some bad patches at the wrong time," first-year coach Tyler Stephen said. "We expected more, to be honest. At the same time, I'm very proud of how he has developed as a tennis player this season."

Thomas finished 12-5 overall and was fourth in the OCC-Central Division at 4-3 with 44 points behind UA (7-0, 73), Kilbourne (6-1, 68) and Dublin Coffman (5-2, 54) and ahead of Davidson (3-4, 43), Hilliard Darby (2-5, 18), Westland (0-7, 11) and Central Crossing (1-6, 7).

Cempre was third at first singles after Nakayama defaulted after falling behind 4-1 in the first set. David Edison defeated Westland's Allan Hinch 8-2 in the fifth-place match at second singles and Harrison Chang defeated Westland's Andy Van 8-1 to take fifth at third singles. Nick Wortman and Mark Evans lost to Kilbourne's Corey Marshal and Brian Aguirre 6-3, 6-3 in the third-place match at first doubles and Max Bruch and Joey Wortman lost to Kilbourne's Roy Greim and Sam Lazaroff 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in the third-place match at second doubles.

Cempre, who finished 14-9 overall, attributed his success in long matches to Stephen's preseason conditioning.

"Our preseason training was tough but I never had to worry about this team's fitness," Stephen said. "I wish Casey had gotten Nakayama into a third set. I felt like he could easily play another three hours today."

The Cardinals will lose senior Nick Wortman, who played first doubles most of the season and was 12-13, but should return the rest of their lineup. Bruch was 11-8, Chang was 15-8, Edison was 13-13, Evans was 14-8 and Joey Wortman was 15-8.

"Nick was an incredible leader," Stephen said. "He played anywhere I asked him to with a smile on his face. Some guys just want to play singles and if they're not playing there, they'll hang their head. He wasn't like that at all. That says a lot about his character."

Kilbourne's Jonny Price (left) and Kevin Metka finished second at the Division I district tournament last Saturday at Hilliard Davidson to advance to state.

At a glance

THOMAS

•Record: 12-5 overall, 4-3 with 44 points (fourth) in OCC-Central

•Senior lost: Nick Wortman

•Key returnees: Max Bruch, Casey Cempre, Harrison Chang, David Edison, Mark Evans and Joey Wortman