Members of the New Albany High School boys tennis team had mixed feelings at the conclusion of the Division I district tournament on May 21 at Hilliard Davidson.

Members of the New Albany High School boys tennis team had mixed feelings at the conclusion of the Division I district tournament on May 21 at Hilliard Davidson.

On one hand, freshman Steven Miller Jr. had qualified for the state tournament, which starts Friday, May 27, and concludes Saturday, May 28, at Davidson. In addition, New Albany still was in the hunt for the OTCA Division I team title.

On the other hand, Miller sustained an ankle injury during the district tournament, putting his status for this week in doubt.

But Miller didn't let the possibility of not being fully healthy for the state tournament or the Eagles' match against Thomas Worthington in an OTCA regional final on May 24 take away from his district performance.

"It's so amazing to be able to represent New Albany," Miller said. "It felt good to go out there and play and have my teammates and everyone cheering for me. People woke up early to come out and cheer for me."

There was a lot for everyone to cheer until the second set of a semifinal match against Thomas' Casey Cempre.

After losing the first set to Cempre 6-2, Miller came back to win the second set 6-4, although he twisted an ankle during the set. He was unable to continue in the third set. Later in the day, the injury prevented him from playing his third-place match against Gahanna's Jesse Shivener and he had to settle for fourth place.

Cempre went on to defeat Dublin Coffman's Hiromi Nakayama 7-6, 6-3 to win the district championship. Since Miller finished fourth, he'll open the state tournament against a champion from another district.

"There's such a fine line there," coach Andrew Sinclair said. "(Miller) went from having a good shot at winning the district championship to finishing fourth and having to face another district champion at state on a gimpy ankle."

Miller was New Albany's lone state qualifier. After defeating Worthington Kilbourne's Brian Aguirre 6-1, 7-5 in a first-round match at district, Sean Yun lost to Nakayama 6-3, 6-2 in the second round. Sam Romanoff lost to Upper Arlington's Brandon Griffin 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 6-0 in his opening match.

In doubles, John Hendrix and Oliver Sybert defeated Big Walnut's Nathan Randall and Sam Lawless 6-2, 6-0 in the first round before losing to UA's Billy Weldon and Stu Little 6-0, 6-0 in the second round. Jordan Rabe and Ameen Farwana lost to Dublin Jerome's Sean Stein and Kent Seitz 6-4, 6-2 in their opening match.

The top four finishers in singles and doubles at district qualified for state.

Miller's injury was expected to shake up the team's lineup for the OTCA match against Thomas. The regional champion plays in a state semifinal against Toledo St. John's, Sylvania Southview or Mansfield Madison on Sunday, May 29, at Davidson. The state final will be played later that day at Davidson, with the possible opponents being Cincinnati St. Xavier, Cincinnati Sycamore, Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit or Solon.

The losers of the semifinal matches play in a consolation match.

"He's been one of our lynchpins," Sinclair said of Miller. "He's been a guaranteed win. There are only one or two guys out there that could beat Cempre and he might be one of them. He's improved a lot since the beginning of the year."