David Albert remembers the first advice he received when he was hired as the Thomas Worthington High School boys tennis coach.

David Albert remembers the first advice he received when he was hired as the Thomas Worthington High School boys tennis coach.

It came from his predecessor, Tyler Stephen, who now coaches Dublin Jerome.

"He told me, 'There's one thing you have to do this year and that's to host the Worthington Cup,'" Albert said.

The Cardinals play host to the annual eight-team Worthington Cup on Saturday, April 21. The event will feature one singles player and one doubles team from DeSales, Jerome, Gahanna, Hilliard Davidson, Olentangy Liberty, Thomas, St. Charles and Worthington Kilbourne.

Traditionally, the event has been a good barometer for the Division I district and state tournaments. Last season, two of the area's four state qualifiers in singles and seven of the area's eight state qualifiers in doubles competed in the Worthington Cup.

"This is the first tournament I've had to run, so there's a lot of pressure," Albert said. "I know we can rise to the occasion and put on a good tournament. It's going to be fun."

Last season, Jerome scored 15 points in the Worthington Cup to finish ahead of Thomas (12), Upper Arlington (11), Liberty (11), Gahanna (8), St. Charles (7), Kilbourne (6) and Davidson (4).

Jerome junior Kent Seitz might be the only player who reached a Worthington Cup final last year to compete in the event this season.

Last year, Seitz and 2011 graduate Sean Stein defeated Gahanna's Canyon Teague and Jesse Shivener 6-4, 6-3 to win the Worthington Cup doubles title. Stein and Seitz went on to win sectional and district championships before losing to Centerville's Brad Boll and Ruben Geeraert 6-4, 6-2 in a state quarterfinal.

Shivener graduated and Teague has been sidelined as he recovers from a stress fracture in his back.

Thomas' Casey Cempre, a 2011 graduate and two-time Division I state qualifier in singles, won the Worthington Cup singles title a year ago with a 4-6, 6-4, 10-6 win over UA's Stu Little.

Cardinals junior Paul Bohorquez, who has replaced Cempre at first singles, is excited to get a chance to play in the event.

"Casey left behind some Shaquille O'Neal-sized sneakers to fill," Bohorquez said. "It's been tough playing first singles, but I want to try my best to put on a good show for the people."

"One of the things (my players) enjoy about the Worthington Cup is this is their community's tournament," Kilbourne coach Steve Metzmaier said. "They have a lot of pride in it. It's been a tradition for a long time and they like being a part of it."

Because of a scheduling conflict, UA, a long-time Worthington Cup participant, will not compete in this year's event. The Golden Bears play Friday, April 20, at Toledo St. John's and Saturday, April 21, at Perrysburg.

"I didn't realize the Worthington Cup was going to be that weekend," UA coach Amos Allison said. "I love the tradition of the Worthington Cup, but we can get more matches in as a team in Toledo. It's a little disappointing for the kids, but they're more interested in the team stuff."

"UA has been somewhat of a fixture at the Worthington Cup almost as much as the Worthington teams have been," Metzmaier said. "With them out of the mix, it makes things a little more wide open for the other teams."