Buxbaum claims District title
lne of the most exciting times in Mike Buxbaum’s decorated tennis career was when he received a medal for winning the District lne Class AAA singles championship in front of friends and IDPLOy. 2n SDWuUGDy hH wDV ready to repeat that moment.
The North Penn senior did indeed win back-to-back district championships, but there would be no tournament ceremonies to bask in. ln Friday his opponent, Unionville’s Johnny Wu chose to default from the finDO EHFDuVH RI LOOnHVV. 1R trip to the Healthplex in SpULnJfiHOG wDV nHFHVVDUy.
“ft feels good to win District lne, but f did not want to win like that,” Buxbaum said. “f have known Johnny for years and he is the type to never default. He works for every point.”
Buxbaum has had a relationship with Wu for seven years and was able to text his condolences to his under-the-weather opponent. fmmediately the focus shifts toward the PfAA championships that begin May 24 at the Hershey Racquet Club.
“, WhLnN , DP GHfinLWHOy playing a lot better (than last year),” Buxbaum said. “SHUYHV DUH DOwDyV FULWLFDO and keeping the forehand and ground strokes more consistent. f feel f like f have improved on both.”
Because of the predetermined opening round matchups Wu’s default sends him to a date with the District 12 champion, which is expectHG WR EH LD SDOOH’V ChULVWLDn iutschaunig. ft is a format that has to be accepted for time being, but in many minds is not optimal.
“Christian, Johnny Wu, along with Mike and a few RWhHU NLGV DUH WhH fiYH EHVW kids in the state,” North Penn coach and former District Chair Toby Watton said. “Both these kids should probably be in the medal round and somebody is going to be eliminated in the fiUVW URunG.”
Buxbaum awaits the champion of District Nine, and if Darren Mast comes out a winner there, it would EH D UHpHDW fiUVW URunG matchup of a season ago. The Conestoga salley senior is another player that Buxbaum has been aware of for close to a decade.
“f have known Darren for just as long as Johnny,” Buxbaum said. “Going through
the circuit f met them and we become friends. Depending on how far they live, you go out, and hit with them.”
Buxbaum handled Mast is WKH fiUVW URuQG ODVW yHDU DQG eventually made it to the VWDWH fiQDO’V wKHUH KH ORVW WR Conestoga’s Kevin Wang. With Wang lo longer in the picture, Buxbaum is ready to capture the ultimate prize in high school tennis and he is feeling better than ever.
“f think Mike has a chance to win a state championship this year,” Watton said. “ff he plays well, like he can and minimizes mistakes like he has the whole year, he can win it.”
Whoever comes out of the iutschaunig, Wu matchup could be the biggest threat to Buxbaum’s dreams. lther DLVWULFW 2QH TuDOLfiHUV, CRQestoga’s Brian Grodecki and Council Rock North’s Mike Stanley also have their sights set on the state title.
For the North Penn senior who missed out on a chance to bring friends and family to see him on the medal stand this Saturday, you better believe he is going to do whatever it takes to make it happen in Hershey.
“f don’t want any down time,” Buxbaum said. “The next two weeks are critical to get prepared for states. Anything under a state title would be a disappointment. You have to set your goals high.”
North Penn catcher Michelle Rauch stretches to make catch as Council Rock North’s Mallory Pollack heads for the plate in Friday’s non-league action. The Maidens won, 12-2.