Senior Jack Klein and freshman Rohan Gupta of the Worthington Kilbourne High School boys tennis team couldn't overcome a close first-set loss in their first-round doubles match during the Division I district tournament.
Klein and Gupta finished their season with a 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 loss to Upper Arlington's Peter Pema and Ben Minton on May 24 at Hilliard Davidson.
"Jack and Rohan played really well, returned serve very well, scraped, scrambled and dived for balls," coach Steve Metzmaier said. "Unfortunately, they lost most of the crucial points. They were at set point in the first-set tiebreaker and didn't finish. I don't know if it was mental, but they fell behind 3-0 in the second set and played even from there but couldn't make those first few games up."
Also at district, the doubles team of sophomores Steven Borchers and George Liu lost to Dublin Jerome's Adam Seitz and Kent Seitz 6-0, 6-0 in the opening round.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to state, which was held May 31 and June 1 at Ohio State.
"The Seitz brothers just overmatched Steven and George, but they are just an excellent team," Metzmaier said. "Steven and George did well to just qualify for the district, but coming in as a fourth-place sectional finisher gives you a tough (first-round) draw."
Klein, who was Kilbourne's only senior, played first singles during the regular season and Gupta played second singles.
"Jack has never been to state and that was a goal he set for himself," Metzmaier said. "Those guys had a chance because they would've had a decent state-qualifying matchup, too, but they just didn't pull it out."
The doubles teams qualified for district from the sectional tournament May 16 and 18 at Pickerington Central, as Klein and Gupta beat Borchers and Liu 6-2, 6-0 in the third-place match, with the top four finishers advancing.
In singles, freshman Dhruv Taneja reached a quarterfinal, where he lost to top-seeded Naki Giri of New Albany 6-0, 6-0 to fall one win shy of advancing. Freshmen Keaton Quinn and Eric Wang both lost in the first round.
Kilbourne finished 13-5 overall and 5-2 in OCC-Cardinal Division matches. The Wolves ended the league tournament May 11 with 55 points to place third, behind Jerome (75, 7-0) and Dublin Scioto (57, 5-2) and ahead of Westerville South (54, 5-2), Hilliard Darby (32, 3-4), Westerville North (26, 2-5), Hilliard Bradley (6, 1-6) and Westerville Central (1, 0-7).
"There were a few matches I think we should've won that we didn't, but overall there was a lot more of the upside than the downside," Metzmaier said. "But we're returning a lot of the lineup, so we're excited about next season and moving into (the OCC-Capital) where New Albany is the strongest team."
Cardinals' season ended at sectional
Thomas Worthington finished 6-8 overall, placed fifth in the OCC-Central and did not have any Division I district qualifiers.
The Cardinals went 3-4 in OCC-Central matches and finished the league tournament May 11 with 36 points to finish behind UA (81, 7-0), Dublin Coffman (63, 6-1), Davidson (63, 5-2) and Olentangy Liberty (42, 3-4) and ahead of Marysville (33, 3-4), Central Crossing (12, 1-6) and Westland (0, 0-7).
Thomas loses six seniors in Paul Bohorquez, Jamie Burpee, Ted Carson, Daniel Cermak, Jesse Greene and Josh Ong.
"I'm like a proud father to see this group develop and blossom," coach David Albert said of the seniors. "I wish I had four more years with them. The core group -- Bohorquez, Carson, Cermak and Ong -- has really improved the past two years.
"Burpee and Greene went 10-4 at second doubles and both were first-year players and just good athletes. They were energetic and very supportive and a big staple of this team. It was a special group overall and they have life potential way beyond tennis."
The Cardinals competed in the sectional May 16 and 18 at Davidson.
The doubles team of Carson and Cermak fell one win shy of qualifying for district. The duo had a first-round bye and beat Bradley's Doug Knecht and Jimmy Gaydos 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 in the second round before losing to second-seeded Joe Justus and Michael Porter of Davidson 6-1, 6-1 in a quarterfinal match.
Also at sectional, Bohorquez, who was seeded third, and Ong won first-round matches in singles before losing in the second round, Burpee and Greene won their opening match in doubles before losing in the second round and junior Nick Meyer lost in the first round in singles.
In addition to Meyer, the Cardinals expect to return juniors Sam Chen and Zach Graham and freshman Chris Chia.
"We finished 3-12 last season, so we doubled our win total and we let a few matches that we should've won slip away," Albert said. "But I was proud to see the boys take what was instilled in practice to the court in matches. We'll have four guys back and we showed potential in (junior varsity) matches, so we'll be fine next year."