Pair Forms A Formidable Tennis Duo
Every team has one or two players who stand out above the rest. These players consistently perform phenomenally, scoring points and generally leading the team to success. They can be counted on to win, even if the team as a whole fails. On the Salem High tennis team, captain Guthrie Scrimgeour has already proven himself to be this type of high achieving player, while newcomer Michael Buchar appears poised to join him
Scrimgeour began playing tennis only 5 years ago, when his older brother joined the high school tennis team. Previously a baseball player, Scrimgeour soon began playing his brother regularly, building up his skill set.
“He would win every time,” remarks Scrimgeour. Though for many this would be disheartening, it seems that it only strengthened this particular player’s resolve to excel at the sport.
Scrimgeour went on to make third singles his freshman year, and he was promoted to first singles and captain his sophomore year—maintaining both positions through his senior year. Captains are nearly always juniors or seniors, making a sophomore year captainship all the more impressive.
Scrimgeour went 16 and 1 last season, with one loss to Marblehead. Over the past two years he has had a 22 and 7 record.
Junior Michael Buchar is a new addition to the team, who will be jumping right to second singles, though he is a relative newcomer to the sport. Buchar is an exchange student from the Czech Republic, who is staying in Salem for the 2016 school year.
Buchar is a top ranked ping-pong player in the Czech Republic, and it is clear those skills translate over to the tennis court. Ranked 21st in the Czech Republic, Buchar has stunned those who have seen him play ping-pong here; at times he hits the ball so fast it is nearly impossible for the eye to follow it, let alone for his opponent to return the serve. Buchar teaches ping-pong lessons to newer students in the Czech, and focuses on ping-pong as his primary sport.
Scrimgeour says that Buchar’s “technique [is] incredible,” and adds that Buchar has “come one point away from beating [him].”
Considering that Scrimgeour has indisputably been the best player on the team since his sophomore year, close games such as these are particularly impressive. Buchar remains modest about his tennis playing abilities however, though he clearly enjoys the game.
Buchar’s addition should prove invaluable to the Salem team, who go against many towns whose players have been practicing these skills since early childhood. Most Salem residents do not grow up playing tennis, so most of these players are developing the necessary skills when they enter high school. This puts them at a disadvantage when competing against towns such as Marblehead, were tennis is much more prominent.
To counteract this, the team has been attending a plethora of early season practices, in order to brush up on the skills that may have lain dormant over the winter. While Scrimgeour is known to play often, as soon as warm enough weather hits, he has also been leading captain’s practices in order to prepare his team for their best possible season.
Scrimgeour cites Jared Lubas and Ryan Farley as “returning varsity players who are going to be successful this season.” In order to win, the team needs to emerge triumphant from the majority of the varsity matches, so players such as Lubas and Farley will prove vital to the team’s success.
Productive preseason practices and valuable new players are building up the Salem High tennis program. The program has a strong core group of players who will lead the team to success, since Salem’s team is clearly on the rise.