They were dead. They were buried. Now they have the individual champion from the Division 3 state championships.
The Newburyport golf team started its season at the bottom, and there the Clippers stayed for most of September, going 0-6, culminating in a 160-121 loss at the hands of Manchester Essex Sept. 26.
Less than a month later, the Clippers can boast the best golfer in Division 3. Newburyport captain Brendan Crowther took home the honor yesterday by shooting a 1-over par 70 at Hillview Golf Course in North Reading at the Division 3 Championships. Crowther had the top score of any of the 108 golfers who competed in the event.
Looking back to September, it was a surprise that Newburyport even qualified for yesterday’s state championships.
After the 0-6 start, perhaps many other teams would have said, “This is not our year,” but these Clippers brushed themselves off and treated Ipswich to a 152-106 drubbing the next day. Port took down Hamilton-Wenham, 166-123 to start October then dropped a match to Masconomet, 178-131 and that was the turning point.
“They lost to Masco, but they played tough against them,” says coach Steve Malenfant. “It looked like they felt like they could play with anybody. Because Masco was a tremendous team and they started playing with everybody after that. Then I started to notice that they started beating teams with good records.”
Along the way, Newburyport went on a four-match winning spree, losing only to Triton in the River Rival tournament where the Clippers went 2-1. A pair of wins against North Reading the next two days won the Clippers not only a playoff berth, but Malenfant was named the CAL Division 1 Coach of the Year and Crowther was named All-League.
“I think we had enough of losing after six losses,” says Crowther. “So we kind of turned it around. Once we got the first ‘W’, we really didn’t start losing.”