Vikings win River Rival Championship; Newburyport pushes to .500
Newburyport Daily News
---- — NEWBURY — The Triton golf team won its seventh River Rival Championship in 14 years at Ould Newbury Golf Club yesterday, besting the field of local teams, which includes Amesbury, Pentucket and Newburyport.
The Clippers also had a successful day, running their record to .500 for the first time this season on a warm, blustery day.
“It’s always fun,” said Triton coach Rich Dube. “We always look forward to playing the Rat at the end of the year because we play against these guys all year. It’s just a real good tournament.”
Pentucket’s Jeff Funk was named the King Rat with 31 points, while Newburyport captain Brendan Crowther was the second-place finisher with 29 points.
“It’s cool,” Funk said of being named King. “I was kind of hoping that our team would do better than we did, but it was fun being King Rat.”
Indeed, Funk’s Sachems had a tough outing, falling out of contention for the state tournament with a 0-3 performance, dropping them to 7-10 on the season with only two matches left.
“It’s too bad, I’m disappointed for them,” Pentucket coach Jayne Beaton said of her players. “It’s so much fun to go to the (state) tournament.”
Triton (14-5-0) came into the day the clear leader of the pack while Amesbury had a 7-7-0 record coming into Ould Newbury. With a 1-2 performance, the Indians must win their final match against Ipswich (3-9-0) to qualify.
Newburyport (8-8-0) was riding a hot streak, winning six out of its last seven matches. With a 2-1 record at the Rat, the Clippers now must win one out of the next two matches against North Reading.
“We’re in a better position than we were yesterday,” said Newburyport coach Steve Malenfant, whose team started the season with a 0-6 record before heating up. “We’ve been throwing out some of the higher scores than we’ve had as a team. We match up favorably with the other teams (making the tournament) that have been very good.”
“I congratulated them for taking two out of three,” Malenfant says of his players. “For the River Rival (Championship), to do that sort of thing on a tough day is no small thing.”
The wind was a factor, according to Funk, who tried his best not to let it get to him.
“I just tried to play my own game,” Funk said of his plan. “The wind kind of affected me on the first hole, but, other than that, I just tried not think about it too much. I just went club down or club up accordingly. Eventually, I got the hang of it and started playing my own game throughout the day.”
Triton co-captain Jon Seward also felt the wind’s effects.
“We all played pretty decent, but we all could have played better,” Seward said of his Vikings. “The wind was probably the strongest factor. It was blowing strong, you didn’t know how to gauge the distance.”
Dube was happy to get the Rat back after a year’s absence, and sees it a nice way to wind up his team’s home season before the tournament.
“Obviously, playing here on our home course, we feel we have an advantage,” confessed Dube. “And that showed because we were successful. But that’s the sort of good thing we’ve had in the past. We’ve won it on the road, which is even tougher to do. We’ll have to defend it on the road somewhere next year. It’s good for these guys to have it back, a good win for the seniors to end their career at home.”
Kyle Hillick was the top scorer for the Vikings with 28 points. Ryan Perilli was second with 28, Seward had 25, and Ryan Manning had 23.
Crowther was the Clippers’ top scorer with 29. Ben Ventura was second with 22. Kyle Bushnell had 21, and Travis Koocher had 20.
For the Sachems, Funk was first with 31. Krystal Knight and C.J. Ingraham tied for second with 20 each, and Mike Lincoln was third with 14.