Worthington Kilbourne High School boys tennis coach Steve Metzmaier recently pulled freshman Jack Klein aside for a pep talk.

Worthington Kilbourne High School boys tennis coach Steve Metzmaier recently pulled freshman Jack Klein aside for a pep talk.

"I keep telling him, 'Jack, you're better than (junior Kevin Metka) was when he was a freshman,'" Metzmaier said. "He doesn't want to believe me. Just the way Kevin is inspires the other players."

After Metka's performance in the Worthington Cup last Saturday, Metzmaier can see why it would be difficult for anyone to accept that kind of compliment. Metka became the first player to win three consecutive singles titles in the Worthington Cup, defeating Upper Arlington's Benni Benalcazar 10-6 in the final.

Upper Arlington scored 16 points to win the Worthington Cup for the first time since 1999 and snap Kilbourne's two-year run as champion. The Wolves (10) placed second, followed by Olentangy Liberty (9), St. Charles (9), Dublin Jerome (8), Hilliard Davidson (8), New Albany (7) and Thomas Worthington (7).

UA's Stu Little and Billy Weldon defeated Davidson's Ben McClarren and Trent Searfoss 10-2 to win the doubles championship.

Metka, who won the Division I state doubles championship last year with graduate Jonny Price, said defending his Cup title gives him confidence for the rest of the season.

"It's a really good accomplishment for me, especially since this is such a tough tournament," said Metka, who raised his singles record to 9-0. "I served really well and my return was pretty good. I didn't miss a lot."

Metka outlasted Liberty's Arren Carter, a three-time Division I state singles qualifier and a University of Louisville signee, 11-10 (8-6) in a semifinal.

Metka was broken only once in three matches last Saturday, but Metzmaier said it was his coolness that helped him prevail.

"Did you see one sign of anger from him out there? That's just the way he is," Metzmaier said. "I've seen him get mad, but he gets mad in a way that spurs him on."

"To beat Arren in a close one was a good win for me," Metka said. "I started out serving well. He made a few errors, and I kept serving to stay in it."

•Thomas juniors David Edison and Mark Evans said their 8-6 win over Kilbourne juniors Sam Lazaroff and Brian Aguirre in the Cup was a huge turning point in their season, even though the win was only for seventh place.

The Cardinals' doubles team trailed 4-0 before winning eight of the last 10 games.

"We told ourselves to focus and not let it slip away," Edison said. "When things start to go bad but you're able to pull it out, it's always good for your confidence."

"We just said we're not going to lose this match," Evans said. "We never count ourselves out of a match. We always believe we can win."

Junior Casey Cempre was the Cardinals' highest finisher, placing fourth in singles after losing to Carter 8-6 in the consolation final.

Coach Tyler Stephen said the Cup was a crash course on what the OCC-Central Division, sectional, district and state tournaments are going to be like. Thomas and Kilbourne compete at the OCC-Central tournament May 8 at Upper Arlington.

"I hope our kids understand what it takes to be at the next level," Stephen said.

"I know David and Mark are frustrated because they finished seventh, but playing here is going to help their confidence as they get down the road."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Kilbourne and Thomas boys tennis teams:

KILBOURNE

April 19 - Lost to New Albany 4-1

*April 20 - Defeated Hilliard Davidson 4-1

*April 22 - Def. Central Crossing 5-0

Last Saturday - Finished second (10) at eight-team Worthington Cup, behind champion Upper Arlington (16). Kevin Metka won his third consecutive singles championship, defeating UA's Benni Benalcazar 10-6.

Last Monday - Match against St. Charles postponed

*Last Tuesday - Played Dublin Coffman

Last Wednesday - Played Olentangy Liberty

*Today - At Upper Arlington

Monday - At Watterson

*Tuesday - Home vs. Thomas

Wednesday - Home vs. Pickerington Central

May 6 - Home vs. Wellington

Of note: The Wolves were 4-3 overall and 4-0 in the OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

THOMAS

*April 20 - Def. Westland 5-0

April 21 - Def. Westerville Central 4-1

*April 22 - Def. Hilliard Darby 5-0

Last Friday - Def. Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy 4-1

Last Saturday - Tied New Albany for seventh (7) at Worthington Cup. Casey Cempre finished fourth in singles, losing to Olentangy Liberty's Arren Carter 8-6.

Last Monday - Match against Groveport postponed

*Last Tuesday - Played Central Crossing

Last Wednesday - Played Bexley

*Tuesday - At Kilbourne. The Cardinals defeated the Wolves 3-2 in an OTCA match on April 1.

Wednesday - Home vs. Watterson

May 6 - At Lancaster

Of note: The Cardinals were 8-2 overall and 3-2 in the OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Central match