By Dan Guttenplan
---- — HAVERHILL — The River Rat trophy sat on a brick wall overlooking the 18th green at Haverhill Country Club yesterday afternoon before going back to its rightful cage — or trophy case — for another year in Byfield.
The Triton golf team earned its seventh River Rival Tournament championship in the last nine years, sweeping the tournament with match victories against River Rivals Newburyport, Amesbury and Pentucket.
With the sweep, Triton (17-3) broke a school record for single-season victories, an impressive feat considering last year’s team won the Division 2 North title. Triton junior Jon Seward collected the individual championship, known as the King Rat, with his 31 points.
“Breaking the school record is something we’ll never forget,” Seward said. “We did it at a school that has had some great years with great players.”
In the River Rival Tournament, Triton earned 189 points between its eight scoring players. Second-place Amesbury (11-5) had 180 points. Third-place Newburyport (10-5) fell just off the pace after its top five golfers kept the Clippers even with Triton, finishing with 174 points. Pentucket (4-11) rounded out the scoring with 155 points.
Triton’s depth was the difference, as the Vikings pulled away from Newburyport and Amesbury with their final three golfers. Brett Greenberg’s 25 points out of the sixth foursome really separated the Vikings, giving them four golfers with at least 25 points.
Pentucket’s Krystal Knight gave Seward plenty of competition in the first foursome of the day, finishing second overall with 29 points. Defending champion Brendan Crowther had a bit of an off day in that same foursome, finishing tied for ninth with 25 points.
“I mentally prepared over the weekend,” Seward said. “I knew how big this tournament is, and how popular it is in our league. I wanted to put up a good number and have a chance to win.”
Travis Koocher (28 points) and Ben Ventura (27) had Newburyport’s best rounds, coming out of the second and third foursomes, respectively. Kyle Hillick (28 points) and Adam Chatterton (28) set Greenberg up with his big round by keeping things close for Triton. Amesbury had four players — Paddy Flahardy, Brendan Foley, Pat Halloran and Kyle Patterson — score more than 25 points.
The scoring was a little low at Haverhill Country Club after a season in which players like Seward, Crowther, Koocher and Knight occasionally eclipsed the 35-point mark with rounds right around even par.
“I don’t know if the course was more difficult or it was the pressure,” Seward said. “It’s a tournament, so some of us don’t have experience doing this. It’s pretty intense.”
River Rival Tournament champions